St. Louisan goes for UFC gold

When the Sports Commission wins an event bid, we always include a youth component. Our clinics give local kids a chance to do more than see the event. They get to experience it. One of the best clinics we do is associated with the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

On the Tuesday before the event begins, around 300 young people get the opportunity to participate in a wrestling clinic put on by some of the sport’s greats. Iowa State’s Bobby Douglas, Arizona State’s Shawn Charles, 2008 Olympian and Mizzou All-American Ben Askren have been clinicians.

We’ve also had the honor of getting to know this guy:

Former Mizzou All-American Tyron Woodley will fight Robbie Lawler for the UFC Welterweight Championship in Atlanta on Saturday night. As you can see in the video, Woodley’s not afraid to mix it up with anyone. In the octagon, he has to be fearless and aggressive.

Don’t let the debilitating leg kicks and hammer fists fool you, though. Woodley definitely has a soft spot for kids. He also served as the head coach at our wrestling clinic in 2012.

Too many coaches like to stand off to the side and bark orders at kids. Woodley gets on the mat and teaches them proper techniques the way he was taught. Kids respect coaches who aren’t afraid to get out there and sweat with them.

Woodley was born and raised in Ferguson. He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics from Mizzou and makes his home in St. Louis with his wife, Averi and their four children.

Tyron Woodley is the type of athlete we tell kids they can become. He has the talent, but he also did well in the classroom, provides for his family and gives back to his community.

It’s not often we root for a win in this space, but St. Louis has lost a lot this year. Woodley’s nickname is ‘The Chosen One.’ Who better to bring UFC gold back to the Gateway City? Rumble, young man rumble!



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