MEDFORD -- The move from the ring to the octagon is becoming a common one nationwide with almost every current UFC champion sporting college wrestling experience on their resume. At Southern Oregon University, the trend has been no different.
Several former Raiders have pursued careers in MMA fighting after their wrestling careers ended and Marc McMahon is the latest to make the switch.
"I made the move about eight months ago and I don't think I've missed a single day of practice since," McMahon said.
On July 20, McMahon fought from behind to win his second amateur fight, pushing his career record to 2-0-0. He was knocked down, seemingly dazed, but he passed concussion protocol and re-entered the fight, winning by referee stoppage after he went ground and pound.
"He thought he rocked me. He thought it was over," McMahon said, "Then I just came back with a vengeance."
His roommate, Scottie Stockman, is the one who got him into MMA. Also a former Raider wrestler, Stockman got him on an MMA card several months ago, his first career fight. Of all the wrestlers turned MMA fighters, former SOU wrestler, Taylor Johnson, has been the most successful.
"That guy will have a UFC belt around him at some point," McMahon said of his former teammate and role model.
Johnson fought in just one amatuer bout before he went pro. In his professional career, he is 4-0-0 with a KO, TKO, and two ground-and-pound wins within two minutes of the opening bell. He's a rising star, ranked the No. 33 middleweight in the western United States.
As his career and the careers of other former SOU wrestlers continue in MMA, expect the trend to continue with future local wrestlers. McMahon talked about the Raider wrestlers that came before him and how they've helped his young career blossom.
"I wrestled with them, I was coached by them, and now I'm following the trail they're blazing for us."
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