Soldiers go to mat with WEC fighting champ
Stars and Stripes June 20, 2007
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan — Three soldiers got a chance to spend a few minutes on the mat Wednesday with one of the world’s top mixed martial art fighters.
Dozens of fellow servicemembers watched Carlos Condit, a welterweight champion with World Extreme Cage fighting, demonstrate some techniques, then take on the trio (one at a time) in friendly exhibitions.
"He’s really good," said Sgt. Kelsey Tehero, who held his own with Condit — for a few minutes. "That’s the first time I’ve wrestled against a world champion."
Condit and fellow WEC champion Uriah Faber and Ultimate Fighting Championship standouts Michael Bispring and B.J. Penn are set to visit 10 U.S. bases in the country in 10 days.
Mixed martial arts fighting has steadily grown in popularity in recent years and is increasingly used by the Army as a recruiting tool. Clearly, it has a number of followers currently stationed in Jalalabad.
One of those was Spc. Nathaniel Brown. The 6-foot-2-inch, 260-pound member of the 62nd Engineer Brigade had a sizable weight advantage on Condit, who competes at 170 pounds. And Condit had already squared off against Sgt. 1st Class Roddy Rieger and Tehero. But the two appeared to be pretty evenly matched, which was good news for Brown.
"I might like to try a few amateur matches when I get back (from the deployment)," Brown said.
Rieger, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, was an All-Army wrestler. But he served as Condit’s demonstration dummy as he went through a series of moves for the audience. Then he was overpowered in an exhibition. Not that Rieger seemed to mind.
He’s a fan who said the sport "provides all the elements for a warrior."