Askren didn’t make comparisons between MMA and wrestling or say one is harder than the other, but he definitely said that expectations were far different when coaching youth wrestling than youth martial arts classes.
“With our wrestling academy, it’s really clear,” Askren laughed. “Parents bring their kids to the academy, they want to get tougher, learn some work ethic, maybe if they do well, they’ll win a state title or go to college. The expectation is perfect for where it should be, whereas with MMA you get every parent thinking their kid is going to be on TV one day and be Conor McGregor.”
The gyms are relatively new in the grand scheme of the sport of wrestling, but AWA is starting to see some names climbing up the rankings. Keegan O’Toole, Parker Keckeisen, Peyton Mocco, Jared Kreider and more have gone from AWA to become collegiate threats and it’s unlikely that the number of names will be shrinking any time soon.