The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Breaking: Wrestling team to become MMA team

Jon Jones will fight Sparky.
Jon Jones will fight Sparky.

The French Fry is completely satire. Any resemblance to any real person is completely coincidental. The statements in the French Fry do not reflect the views of the Northern Iowan, nor do they reflect the views of the advertisements outside of this insert. 

The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team announced Monday they will be transitioning into a mixed martial arts club in the near future. The decision was made by Dawg Schob and some of UNI’s top wrestlers, concluding it was time to take their skills to the next level. The team, now called “The Panther Pack-a-Punch Bunch,” will forgo next year’s collegiate season and train members to fight in mixed martial arts.

“After our successful performances at the Big 12 and National meets, we decided it was time to move the program in a new direction,” stated coach Schob in the official press conference Monday, “We hope other teams in collegiate wrestling will follow suit.”

Completely surprised by the announcement, the press was very confused on what to ask Schob next, as the room stood quiet for a while after.

“As for UNI, we will still be funded and supported by the school, as (President) Mook and I have already been in discussions,” Schob concluded.

“Coach, I’m sorry but what? Your team just came off arguably the best season in the school’s history, and now you want to change the program?” a reporter asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes, yes. I know we sent seven guys to the National tournament and even brought home a champion, we as a team felt like this was the best decision. Think about it, we have some of the best wrestlers in the country here at UNI. Wouldn’t it be like … totally sick if they could kick and punch in their matches too?” Schwab responded.

The room went quiet once again.

Sparky Keckensen, also present for the press conference, finally spoke up to break the silence once again.

“I assume you want to know my side of things. Well, after winning the Natty, I thought to myself ‘Well, I made it, what’s next for me?’ I did a lot of soul searching this past week, and I came to the conclusion that I should give MMA a fight. Schob already set up a match for me and everything,” Keckensen said.

The reporters broke their silence and asked a frenzy of questions after Keckensen’s comments. Though mixed and hard to understand, the general consensus of what they all wanted to know was the same: who would Sparky fight?

“Yes, yes. Thank you for bringing that up Sparky,” Schob responded, “I am pleased to announce that Sparky will make his debut on the MMA circuit this August, fighting current Heavyweight Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones for the belt.”

There was yet another brief pause in the room, then the reporters turned into a frenzy again.

“Jon Jones is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, that’s his first fight?”, “Sparky, you haven’t even trained in MMA, what makes you think you are ready for Jon Jones?” , “Sparky, my infant son’s first words were ‘Keckensen, how could you do this to me?”, were all  overheard in the press conference during this time. 

“I know you all are a bit shocked by this news, but we feel, as his coaches, Sparky is more than prepared to take on the Mr. Jones with his current training regime. All we’ll have to do is pack on some mass this summer and he will be ready for the fight come August,” Schob said to ease the crowd, “Until then, we hope to see you all follow along with us on our new journey.”

Schob and Keckensen then left the press conference, leaving the reporters with more questions than answers. It is unclear at this time when they will be back to speak more on the subject, but for now what is known is UNI Panther wrestling as we know it is no more. 

Since the news broke, several wrestlers from other programs have entered into the transfer portal with the intention to compete for the Panther Pack-a-Punch Bunch. Notable names include Iowa State National Champion Dave  Corre, Penn State National Champion Aron Broks, and many others. 

The UNI wrestling facilities will be converted into MMA gyms for the wrestlers, or fighters, to train year round. At this time, the University has yet to officially speak on the matter, as several people have already gathered outside President Mook’s house in protest.

The Northern Iowan will follow the situation as it develops.

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