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January 27, 2014

Former Olympian and wrestling All-American staying in the MMA fight game

NORMAN — There are very few people from Oklahoma who have a resume that can match Kenny Monday. The Tulsa native is an Olympic Gold medalist, three-time Olympian and a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State. That would be enough laurels to rest on for the rest of his life.

But that isn’t Monday ‘s style. After his wrestling career ended, he got in to Mixed Martial arts in 1997. That began a whole new career that has now brought him to running his own promotion company, BattleGrounds MMA.

“I’ve been involved in wrestling all my life,” Monday said. “So I’ve always loved one on one. I always loved boxing, martial arts. Once the sport (MMA) kind of took off and I saw some of my buddies kind of wrestling and doing so well, I knew there was a sport that I would gravitate to.”

BattleGrounds, which was formed in 2012, hosted its third ever event last weekend at the Riverwind Casino in Norman. In front of a sellout crowd, Monday put on the type of show MMA fans in Oklahoma will flock to on a regular basis.

“I am very impressed with the turnout, the enthusiasm is high,” Monday said. “We sold out. So that’s always a great sign. You put together a fight, you put together a card. We do it for the fans. We want to entertain the fans. It’s a growing fan base in Oklahoma, which I am really excited about. It’s great for our third show.”

While the fans were excited throughout the evening not every fight lived up to the billing. Many ended in the first few minutes of the opening round after fighters got caught in painful positions and were forced to tap out.

But that seemed to only lather up the fans even more. It’s an atmosphere Monday says all sporting fans should experience, regardless of what they’ve heard about the sport.

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