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Jordan Burroughs Pens A Heartfelt Message Of Respect To Ben Askren

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Jordan Burroughs Pens A Heartfelt Message Of Respect To Ben Askren

Jordan Burroughs may have won a challenge wrestling match against Ben Askren, and one he wholeheartedly promoted, however, he’s not about to let it go to his head.

The Olympic gold winner took the opportunity to write a touching tribute to Askren. This is particularly refreshing given how often the jiu jitsu community goes silly with rivalries and duels that will never materialize. It is – that easy.

Here’s what Burroughs wrote:

I was a 19-year-old college sophomore when I met @benaskren for the first time. Fresh off a historic collegiate career, Ben was widely recognized as the best wrestler of his era regardless of weight — he was an icon in a sport lacking big personality. Less than a year after graduating, he made the 2008 Olympic team at 163 pounds, my current weight class.

Meanwhile I was a 150-pound kid on the USA junior team, sitting on the edge of the mat during Olympic Team practice, hoping to not only pick up some technique, but maybe get to rub shoulders with some Olympians. As I sat in that sweaty wrestling room on those humid summer afternoons watching them prepare for the Games, my Olympic aspirations were born. Little did anyone know that I was going to be the man that would succeed Ben Askren.

Fast forward more than 10 years to this past Monday night. Both Ben and I walked down the stairs of the 200 section of the Hulu Theatre heading for the raised mat on a platform in an arena where we were the headliners.

Ben, the former wrestling icon turned MMA superstar. Me, once just a young matside dreamer turned wrestling legend. And more than 6,000 fans to watch it all.

Regardless of the result, I knew this year’s Beat the Streets event was going to be epic.

To Ben – What you and I were able to do Monday night was incredible. Thank you for your willingness to put your reputation, and more importantly your health on the line for the sake of the sport that bred you.

For a few hours, the wrestling and MMA worlds stood still, and together, and wondered if you’d be able to — as you’ve done many times in the past — shock the world. But instead you got double-legged, more than once. All jokes aside, this match truly wasn’t about winning or losing, but rather supporting young kids in need and growing our sport. Because of your willingness to step toe-to-toe with me, countless new eyes have been drawn to wrestling.

Something Ben said at Sunday’s press conference really resonated with me. “Stepping up to a challenge doesn’t mean just saying yes when you know you can win,” he said, “but saying yes even when you know that you could get your butt kicked.”

That’s heart. Respect. 💯

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I was a 19-year-old college sophomore when I met @benaskren for the first time. Fresh off a historic collegiate career, Ben was widely recognized as the best wrestler of his era regardless of weight — he was an icon in a sport lacking big personality. Less than a year after graduating, he made the 2008 Olympic team at 163 pounds, my current weight class. Meanwhile I was a 150-pound kid on the USA junior team, sitting on the edge of the mat during Olympic Team practice, hoping to not only pick up some technique, but maybe get to rub shoulders with some Olympians. As I sat in that sweaty wrestling room on those humid summer afternoons watching them prepare for the Games, my Olympic aspirations were born. Little did anyone know that I was going to be the man that would succeed Ben Askren. Fast forward more than 10 years to this past Monday night. Both Ben and I walked down the stairs of the 200 section of the Hulu Theatre heading for the raised mat on a platform in an arena where we were the headliners. Ben, the former wrestling icon turned MMA superstar. Me, once just a young matside dreamer turned wrestling legend. And more than 6,000 fans to watch it all. Regardless of the result, I knew this year’s Beat the Streets event was going to be epic. To Ben – What you and I were able to do Monday night was incredible. Thank you for your willingness to put your reputation, and more importantly your health on the line for the sake of the sport that bred you. For a few hours, the wrestling and MMA worlds stood still, and together, and wondered if you’d be able to — as you’ve done many times in the past — shock the world. But instead you got double-legged, more than once. All jokes aside, this match truly wasn’t about winning or losing, but rather supporting young kids in need and growing our sport. Because of your willingness to step toe-to-toe with me, countless new eyes have been drawn to wrestling. Something Ben said at Sunday’s press conference really resonated with me. “Stepping up to a challenge doesn’t mean just saying yes when you know you can win,” he said, “but saying yes even when you know that you could get your butt kicked.” • That’s heart. Respect. 💯

A post shared by Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) on

In a world where it seems that with every week the number of beefs rises and the number of spectators reduces it’s spectacularly refreshing to see a match like this work out, for charity, for the sport and under the watchful eyes of a global audience.

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