“It’s been a very stressful day with a lot of ups and downs,” said UFC bantamweight Sara McMann in a recent conversation with Fighters.com‘s John Petit on the Punch Drunk Radio Podcast. On the up side, it was announced that McMann was officially signed to the UFC, and by itself it was a wonderful piece of news. However, in the same day the Olympic Silver Medalist in wrestling learned that the International Olympic Committee voted to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. It was a move that shocked the MMA world as a whole, but hit very close to home to McMann.
“I am heartbroken,” McMann admitted. “That’s the word that keeps popping up in my head. I went through the five stages of grief today with the announcement. At first I thought it was impossible, there is no way they can get rid of wrestling. It was THE FIRST sport. Then I went through the anger stage, ‘oh no, they messed with the wrong group of people!’” McMann Concluded, “Now I am heartbroken. Those are peoples dreams that were taken away today. Some people work for 15 years to have that opportunity, maybe once in their life, to have that taken away from them. It’s devastating.”
McMann had the idea of putting together a short video of what wrestling meant to her (you can watch hers here), but she is encouraging everyone involved with the sport to do the same.
“Its a lot easier to get rid of a sport when you make a decision that is far removed from the people involved with it. I want to encourage everyone who is involved with the sport from athletes to family members to make a video talking about what wrestling means to them,” McMann explained. “Maybe it won’t make a difference, but its harder to look people in the eye when you make decisions like these.”
The excitement of officially being in the UFC will likely start later for the women’s division newest addition, but right now the Olympic Wrestler in her is taking over. To McMann there are bigger things at stake today, explaining, “I think it’s a shame to lose things like this with deep roots in humanity. Before there was the Olympic Games there were drawings on cave walls of people wrestling. Wrestling is something that is part of the human experience in my opinion.”
PHOTO CREDIT: INVICTA FC