TMWC | Mission to the Mecca of Wrestling: Chronicling a wrestling journey to the Islamic Republic of Iran

TMWC | Mission to the Mecca of Wrestling: Chronicling a wrestling journey to the Islamic Republic of Iran... 02/12/2015 Sports

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By Admin On November 28, 2015 · 0 Comments
Mission to the Mecca of Wrestling: Chronicling a wrestling journey to the Islamic Republic of Iran
By Craig Sesker
Titan Mercury WC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Many people outside the world of wrestling, including those in the United States, don’t even realize it.
Wrestling is king in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Wrestling is the national sport in the Middle East nation, and anytime a big international event is held in Iran, the tickets are very tough to find.
That was the case when a seven-member wrestling team, sponsored by the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, headed to Iran to compete in the World Clubs Cup on Nov. 26-27 in Tehran, Iran.
The Iranians are among the most passionate fans you will find in any sport. They make plenty of noise with their chants and cheers, and with the horns they toot and blare to support their athletes.
I have traveled all over the world to cover wrestling events – including trips to Moscow, Tokyo, London, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Istanbul, Budapest, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Tashkent and Baku – but this was my first trip to the wrestling mecca of Iran.
And what an incredible experience it was.
I had the great fortune of being a part of the group that traveled to and from Iran on Nov. 21-29. I chronicled my experiences daily in an electronic journal I kept from start to finish of this memorable journey.
Saturday, Nov. 21
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – My iPhone alarm jolted me awake at 3:15 a.m., and then my second one made sure I was awake six minutes later.
Sleeping the night before a big trip like this is usually a challenge for me, with so many things floating around in my mind, but I was able to squeeze in about four hours of shut-eye last night.
I finished my packing last night, and will be bringing one big suitcase, a small suitcase that I will carry on the plane, and my computer bag.
Friday was an interesting day with the folks at Titan Mercury scrambling to change flights.
We were originally supposed to travel overseas today, but the visas for the trip weren’t going to be available until Sunday.
Our entire group will now all fly to Washington, D.C., stay overnight Saturday at the Embassy Suites near the Dulles International Airport, pick up our passports and visas, and then board a plane Sunday night for Frankfurt, Germany.
From there, we will fly into Tehran, Iran. Athletes are scheduled to weigh in on Wednesday, and will be given a two-kilogram allowance. The competition is then set for Thursday and Friday.
A huge thanks goes to Andy Barth of Titan Mercury for his incredible generosity in making this trip a possibility. It is greatly appreciated. Andy has made huge contributions to the sport of wrestling that have had a very positive impact.
And kudos to Debbie Priester of Titan Travel for working long hours to re-book everyone’s flights to Iran.
The World Clubs Cup is a highly competitive event. The Titan Mercury team finished second last year. The winning team takes home $50,000. It is also a great opportunity for athletes to get some competitive matches in prior to next month’s U.S. Open in Las Vegas.
The seven-member American roster for the World Clubs Cup is a good one. It includes Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner, two-time World Team member Tony Ramos, past World Team member Dustin Schlatter, past U.S. National Team member Andrew Howe, 2015 World Team Trials runner-up Daniel Dennis, veteran Austin Trotman and three-time NCAA All-American Bobby Telford.
Howe went 5-0 and Ramos 4-1 at last year’s event in Iran.
Young Titan Mercury standout Aaron Pico was scheduled to compete, but will be unable to wrestle in Iran because of an injury. Titan Mercury hopes to use an athlete from a foreign country to replace Pico in Iran. Under rules of the event, the Titan Mercury team can use up to two international wrestlers from a foreign country on its roster.
The Titan Mercury travel party also includes team leader Wayne Boyd, translator Hooman Tavakolian, coach Royce Alger videoman Lee Schneiderman, trainer Bobby Reisz, and referee Cliff Ramos.
My travel day on Saturday including a short flight from Colorado Springs to Denver, a short layover in Denver, and then a 3½-hour flight from Denver to Washington, D.C.
The three wrestlers from Iowa had travel issues today because of the big snowstorm that swept through Iowa. They are supposed to arrive in D.C. during the middle of the day Sunday.
Cliff Ramos, who lives in Chicago, had a long travel day with huge delays before he made it in here late last night.
The group that went to the event in Iran last year said they had a great experience. I can’t wait to experience it myself this year.
Sunday, Nov. 22
WASHINGTON, D.C. – One of the great parts about staying at Embassy Suites is breakfast. They have chefs who prepare meals any way you want them. I had a great omelet to start out the day.
I joined NCAA champion and past U.S. National Team member Andrew Howe at breakfast. Andrew not only is a very good wrestler, he’s one of the nicest guys in the sport.
Andrew recently got married and went to Jamaica for his honeymoon. He’s back on the mat now, and ready to have a strong season in 2016. Andrew went 5-0 at this event in Iran last year, and he was featured in an Iranian newspaper today.
Hooman “Mo” Tavakolian, who was born in Iran and came to the U.S. when he was 8 years old, will be our interpreter and liaison for the trip. Mo is an awesome guy who runs the Bill Farrell/New York AC tournament.
Mo also joined us at breakfast. Mo was on the trip last year and he’s been back to his home country several times since he moved to the U.S.
Mo informed us that the event is going to be held in Tehran now. It was originally scheduled for Mazadaran, which was a bus trip of several hours from Tehran. That is good news. The venue in Tehran reportedly holds 14,000 fans, and there may not be many empty seats.
Mo said two-time World champion Reza Yazdani of Iran may be competing as well. Iranian fans are hoping Yazdani can face 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner.
Yazdani won a World title in 2011 and was favored to win the Olympics in 2012. Yazdani was on course to meet Varner in the 2012 Olympic finals, but he suffered a knee injury in his semifinal loss to Ukraine’s Valeriy Andriytsev. Varner then beat the Ukrainian in the finals.
Yazdani came back to win a World title in 2013. Varner made the 2014 U.S. World Team before falling to eventual World champion Kyle Snyder in the finals of the 2015 U.S. World Team Trials.
The Iranian fans love wrestling, and they are very knowledgeable about the sport, so a Yazdani-Varner matchup is something they are very eager to see happen.
There also is talk that Olympic gold medalist and five-time World champion Khadzhimurat Gatsalov of Russia may be competing in the World Clubs Cup as well.
Team leader Wayne Boyd, coach Royce Alger, videographer Lee Schneiderman and referee Cliff Ramos also came down to grab breakfast just before they shut it down.
There is never a dull moment when Wayne and Royce are around, and they regaled us with a number of funny stories from the past.
I’ve known Royce since we were kids growing up in Iowa. He’s a year older than me, and we grew up about 20 miles apart.
Royce’s biggest athletic achievement wasn’t winning two NCAA titles and a World silver medal in wrestling. It was hitting two home runs off me in Babe Ruth baseball when he was 15 and I was 14. I don’t think I ever pitched again after that game.
Tony Ramos, Daniel Dennis and Bobby Telford were on their way from Iowa to D.C. early in the day today. Varner was on his way to D.C. from State College, Pa. while Austin Trotman also was en route from Nebraska.
I headed over to a nearby Gold’s Gym for a workout Sunday afternoon. During my two-mile run on the treadmill, Dustin Schlatter, Andrew Howe and Tony Ramos all came in for a workout. That’s a combined three NCAA titles and three World Team appearances in the group.
Ramos and Howe ran on the treadmill while Schlatter worked out on the elliptical machine. In addition to all of their time training on the wrestling mat, wrestlers spend long hours doing cardiovascular workouts as well.
I joined Howe in the sauna after our cardio workouts were done. I asked him how many hours of his life he’s spent trying sweating off a few extra pounds.
“Too many,” he said. “Too many to count.”
The team was planning on heading over to a nearby Gold’s Gym for an afternoon workout before we fly out of Dulles International Airport on Sunday night.
Monday, Nov. 23
FRANKFURT, Germany – The long journey to Iran continued with a seven-hour flight from Washington, D.C. to Frankfurt.
We have about a five-hour layover now in Frankfurt before we take the five-hour flight to Tehran, Iran.
The flight to Frankfurt went very smoothly. I watched two movies – Entourage and Ant Man – and that passed the time very quickly. I was able to sleep a little bit as well on the comfortable United Airlines flight.
We left D.C. at 10 p.m. Sunday, and the late flight time helped a number of people in our traveling part of 14 get some sleep on the plane. Wrestler Andrew Howe was sitting directly behind me and he slept for the majority of the flight.
During the layover in Germany, a number of the wrestlers found an area with the cots near the terminal to sleep.
Hooman “Mo” Tavakolian, our Iranian-born interpreter who left Iran for the U.S. in 1986, and I found a great little spot for lunch. I had spaghetti and it was very good.
It was good to kill a little bit of time with Mo with a little bit of lunch and a nice cold glass of beer. It is fascinating to hear him talk about the history of Iran and how important the sport is there.
Mo said the sport is embedded in the culture with a great history that goes back to the days of the Persian Empire. Mo said wrestling in Iran is what baseball is to American culture.
Having Cauliflower Ear is a big deal to the people in Iran. It is a badge of honor because then people know you wrestled. When people see the deformed ears, it is a sign of respect with the people there.
We actually don’t arrive in Tehran until just after midnight at the start of the day on Tuesday.
Our wrestlers will have all day Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday to get down to weight. Athletes are given a two-kilogram (4.4 pounds) allowance for the World Clubs Cup.
Tuesday, Nov. 24
TEHRAN, Iran – The long journey to Iran is finally complete.
We flew five hours from Frankfurt to Tehran on Monday night, arriving in Iran around 1:30 a.m.
It was a very smooth flight, and I watched the latest Mission Impossible movie and read Sports Illustrated to pass the time. We flew on Lufthansa, which is a great airline that has outstanding service. It’s the best airline I’ve ever flown on.
I sat next to a very nice lady named, Sonia, who used to work as a surgeon in Iran before moving to Vancouver, Canada six years ago. She was heading back to Iran to visit family and friends. She spoke very good English and wished our team good luck in this event.
We had to go through passport control and then the seven of us who are first-time visitors to Iran had to be fingerprinted by Iranian officials.
Our scheduled 45-minute bus ride to our hotel turned out to be twice that long, as our driver and the government official who was with him, had trouble locating where we were staying.
We finally got off the bus at 4:44 a.m. local time on Tuesday. We have a veteran group here, so everybody stayed relatively calm and composed as they tried to find our “hotel.” Coach Royce Alger even sang a few songs while we tried to find our way.
It turned out we are staying at Iran’s Olympic Training Center. There are two of us to a dormitory room, and I am rooming with veteran referee Cliff Ramos of Chicago.
Cliff and I aren’t cutting any weight like the wrestlers, but our room feels a bit sauna-like. We cracked open some windows, so hopefully it will be tolerable. It feels kind of like North Dakota State’s Pavek Hall in July.
We have a television in our room, but the only English-speaking channel is a news station that keeps repeating the same stories over and over. But we are in Iran, so you have to expect that.
We aren’t in a hotel, so we can’t ring the front desk if we don’t have items we need. I had a small tube of toothpaste I gave to wrestler Daniel Dennis and an extra disposable razor I gave to Team Leader Wayne Boyd.
I learned that Iran is actually 8½ hours ahead of Eastern Time. We also learned that the wrestling competition kicks off at 9 a.m. on Thursday and Friday. We are still trying to gain information on how many teams will compete, but we are hearing it may be as many as 12 teams this year.
The Titan Mercury team finished second in this event last year.
Even with all the travel issues, it’s great to be here in Iran. This country is the mecca of wrestling and the Iranians are the most passionate fans that the sport has.
We also learned this is a really big city. Tehran has a population of 13 million people, in a country with a total population just under 80 million. Tehran is bigger than New York City and Los Angeles. It is a venerable, industrial city with a very long history.
The local media also has been hyping up a potential matchup this week between Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner and two-time World champion Reza Yazdani of Iran at 97 kg/213 lbs.
I think we would all love to see it.
That is another great part about the Iranians. Their media really cares about wrestling and they provide excellent coverage of the sport.
Tuesday, Nov. 24 – Part II
TEHRAN, Iran – We actually had a chance to sleep in after arriving here very late, and most of us took advantage of it.
We didn’t arrive at the place we are staying until nearly 5 a.m., and many of us slept through breakfast. A few guys even slept through lunch.
I woke up shortly after noon, took a shower and then headed down a couple of floors for lunch here at the Iranian Olympic Training Center.
I went to lunch with my roommate, referee Cliff Ramos, before Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner and past National Team member Andrew Howe joined us.
Our entire 14-member traveling party then headed over to a downtown training facility so the seven-member U.S. team could get a late afternoon workout in.
Teams from Hungary and Bangladesh were taking the mat after the U.S. team completed its workout.
We arrived a day later than planned, after having some issues obtaining visas, so the American wrestlers need to take full advantage of the short window they have to work out before weigh-ins.
Weigh-ins are scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow, and then draws for the dual-meet event will be done at the venue.
We saw a list of the lineup for the Iranian club that won this event last year, and as expected, it is loaded.
Two-time World champion Reza Yazdani leads the strong Iranian team. Fans here are hoping Yazdani can face Varner, who won the 2012 Olympics, here at 97 kg/213 lbs.
Clubs can use up to two athletes from another country, and the Iranian club plans to use Vladimir Khinchegashvili of Georgia in its lineup at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. The Georgian earned a dramatic, last-second win over World champion Hassan Rahimi of Iran in the 2015 World finals in Las Vegas.
We just ran into Olympic silver medalist Alireza Rezai in the hotel. We spent time with him during the World Cup, and he is a very friendly guy. Rezai was saying he enjoyed his visits to L.A., particularly Hollywood.
Wednesday, Nov. 25
TEHRAN, Iran – We are in our second full day of staying at the Iranian Olympic Training Center and we still don’t have any Internet here.
We were told the WiFi would be working yesterday, but then we were without Internet again today.
Not being online makes it very difficult for what we are trying to do from a communications standpoint. Not to mention just trying to get word back to our families that we made it here safe and sound.
Our translator, Mo Tavakolian, let me use a cell phone from one of his Iranian friends so I could send out a few messages to let people in the U.S. know our group had made it here safely.
The jet lag hit me hard last night. I wasn’t able to sleep and I was up late hanging out in the living room area outside our rooms on the third floor. I wasn’t alone. Mo, Wayne Boyd, Royce Alger and Lee Schneiderman also were up at that time.
Hopefully, the athletes were able to get more sleep than us older folks.
Tony Ramos was up early, getting a run in on the four-lane outdoor track here at the Iranian OTC.
Most of our group made it down to breakfast early this morning on the first floor. The food here has been surprisingly good. You never know what you’re going to get when you go overseas.
They had scrambled eggs this morning that were excellent. They also drink lots of tea here, so that has been a change for me. I love my morning coffee, but the tea here has been good.
One of my favorite dudes, Daniel Dennis, just stopped by and sat on the couch across from me. What you see is what you get with Dennis, who has some great stories about some of his adventures of driving his truck across the country. He also was the guy in our group least worried about the lack of Internet access here in Iran.
Dennis also is a very tough wrestler who placed second at the 2015 World Team Trials. Dennis is cutting down to 57 kilos this year as he tries to land a spot on the Olympic Team. He placed third at the Bill Farrell/NYAC tournament earlier this month in his first tournament at 57 kg.
He will compete at 61 kg/134 lbs. here in Iran, with teammate Tony Ramos competing at 57 kg.
Our wrestlers will get one final workout in this afternoon before weigh-ins for the tournament at 6 p.m. Pairings will then be done for the two-day event, which kicks off tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Thursday, Nov. 26
TEHRAN, Iran – I never thought I would be spending Thanksgiving Day in Iran, but here we are thanks to another big wrestling event.
There were 14 of us from the U.S. in our traveling party who were away from their families while being on the road during one of my favorite holidays.
I texted my daughter, Hayley, back in Colorado Springs to wish her a Happy Turkey Day. I am so thankful to have her in my life. Wish I could be with her today, but I will give her a big hug when I see her next week.
I had two hard-boiled eggs, a piece of bread with strawberry jam, and some hot tea for breakfast. Not quite turkey and dressing, but it’s great to have an opportunity to watch wrestling in the one of the sport’s great meccas in Iran.
These fans, as expected, have been great with their chants and horns and drums. Wrestling is a very important part of this culture.
Referee Cliff Ramos just handed me a granola bar in the press tribune during a break in the tournament.
Cliff is one of the top referees in the United States, and he is gaining some opportunities now to officiate overseas.
This is Cliff’s third international event outside the country. He previously worked the Henri Deglane in France and the Cadet Pan American Championships in Brazil.
Cliff is my roommate here in Tehran, and it’s been fun to get to know him. He’s a good dude with an easy going nature. He’s a Chicago native who actually wrestled for the University of Kansas before they dropped their program. He was an Illinois state champion in high school.
He’s also a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. I love baseball, so we had some good conversations about the Cubbies. Wait till next year!
Our other Ramos on the trip, two-time World Team member Tony Ramos, just stopped by during the break and he smiled when I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. Tony is away from his wife and young son while competing here in Iran.
Tony also is going to miss watching his beloved Dallas Cowboys play on Thanksgiving later today against unbeaten Carolina. He has been wearing a Cowboys shirt on this trip. I had to give him a hard time since I am a lifelong Redskins fan.
They have a great set-up in the arena here with three mats and plenty of space on the floor. The press tribune is close to the mats and situated slightly above them with great sightlines.
The Internet also has been working great. Even our coach, Royce Alger, figured out how to get online here. He can’t post on Facebook from here, but he will be back in the U.S. on Sunday to share his pearls of wisdom with everyone on this trip.
My friend, Hadi, an Iranian television commentator, has been extremely helpful to me as I cover this event. He helped me get online, hooked me up with bout sheets and even brought me some tea.
I have known Hadi for years, and sat next to him in the press tribune at the 2010 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
He is one of many Iranians who do a great job of covering this sport.
I have been emailing play-by-play of our matches to Milena Wick of Titan Mercury, who has been posting them on the Titan Mercury Twitter page. We are unable to send Twitter updates from here.
A huge thanks to Milena for staying up late/getting up early to help us keep people informed of how our team is doing here.
Friday, Nov. 27
TEHRAN, Iran – Our Thanksgiving dinner here in Iran actually turned out pretty well last night.
After Titan Mercury rolled to wins over Azerbaijan and Brazil, we stopped at a fast food restaurant on the way back to the National Olympic Training Center here.
We ordered pizza, burgers and fries, and the food was really quite good. It was a nice break from the dining hall at the OTC here, although the food there hasn’t been too bad either.
I sat at a table with wrestlers Daniel Dennis, Dustin Schlatter and Austin Trotman. I knew Dennis pretty well before this trip, and there’s never a dull moment with him. It’s also been fun getting to know Dustin and Austin. They are two really good guys.
Dustin was saying he wasn’t able to update his lineup in his Fantasy Football league because the internet has been down here. He had to use the lineup from last week.
Dustin just earned his master’s degree and Austin is beginning work on his. Pretty impressive to say the least.
Austin’s french fries came out first, and we were hungry, so Dennis and I had to steal a few of them. They were very good.
They also had internet in the restaurant, which made our group very happy.
Staying connected with people back home, especially when you are in Iran on Thanksgiving, is very important.
Tony Ramos let me know that his wife was reading our Twitter updates from here during the first dual Thursday. That was good to hear because it has been a delightful challenge trying to get information back to the U.S. with the internet issues here.
When we got back on the bus, I had to ask Jake Varner about the vicious crossface he threw during his win over the Brazilian. Jake was in total control of the match, which he won by technical fall, but he was becoming a little frustrated with the style of his opponent.
The Brazilian missed on an arm throw attempt and then Varner came back by ripping the crossface into his opponent with his right arm.
Jake laughed when I told him that might be the hardest crossface I’ve ever seen.
Jake could have a big match later today against two-time World champion Reza Yazdani of Iran. Yazdani won Worlds in 2011 and 2013, while Varner won an Olympic gold medal in 2012.
I hope we get a chance to see it.
Trainer Bobby Reisz, a fellow Iowa native, has been great to have on this trip. He’s been a busy man, doing everything from treating injuries to helping guys make weight. He is a University of Iowa graduate.
Bobby has probably lost weight on this trip with all the workouts he’s done here. He was out this morning, getting a run in before the sun came up. He then joined me when I went for a walk around the four-lane outdoor track they have here.
The weather here has been nearly perfect, with temperatures in the 60s all week.
One final thought for today: The Iranian people have been incredibly friendly, hospitable and helpful.
Salar, the government official who has been with us since we stepped off the plane in Tehran, has bent over backwards to be accommodating to our traveling party.
Workers at the venue also were awesome yesterday. They gave me a pass to their VIP room, which had food and drinks available in addition to a nice comfortable place to sit down and take a break.
We have felt very welcome here, and I really appreciate the way we have been treated here.
My friend, Hadi, an Iranian broadcaster, just did a television interview with me and asked me about my impressions of his country. I gave him two thumbs up, and I told him people couldn’t have been any nicer. That makes a big difference when you are halfway around the world and away from family and friends.
Saturday, Nov. 28
TEHRAN, Iran – It was an interesting day today to say the least.
The day started very early as Titan Mercury coach Royce Alger and I tried to follow the play-by-play of the Iowa Hawkeye football game against Nebraska. Iowa was looking to finish the regular season 12-0 for the first time in school history.
Royce and I both grew up within 30 miles of the University of Iowa campus. He was a two-time NCAA champion for Iowa.
Royce loves to tell the story of how he hit two home runs off me in baseball when he was 15 and I was 14, but he neglects to mention that a kid from my hometown of Tipton named Brad Anderson had a winning record against him in wrestling.
Royce loves to talk and tell stories from his glory days, so the time passed quickly as we tried to follow the game while sitting on the couches in the lobby of our hotel.
We were following the ESPN GameCast of the game. Royce was following it on his phone and I followed it on my computer. It worked well because he got some updates quicker than me, and vice versa.
We both love Hawkeye football, so we were pretty animated during the game – high-fiving, yelling, getting upset and becoming frustrated when the update of the next play took too long.
In the end, Iowa emerged with a tough 28-20 win at Nebraska to move to 12-0 and into the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State. It was 3:38 a.m. when we headed up to our rooms to go to sleep. I was whistling “In Heaven there is no beer” when Iowa recovered an onside kick to clinch the win.
Royce said he will be at that game next weekend. I would love to go. Maybe I will show up in Indianapolis as well.
After sleeping in, we had a whole day to kill before our early morning flight tomorrow so we headed out in the bus for some shopping and sightseeing.
We found some great shops where we spent our share of Iranian money. Our group of 13 bought a number of gifts to take home for our friends and family.
It was a fun day with a great group of people.
Heavyweight Bobby Telford is a guy I didn’t really know before this trip and he’s been a lot of fun to have around. The three-time All-American for Iowa is going to do well in freestyle, as he showed this week by going 3-1 in the World Clubs Cup.
Bobby is a good dude. He’s very smart and witty, and he has his share of funny stories and anecdotes. He is rooming with Daniel Dennis, and it’s funny to hear how those two fight like an old married couple. After the latest disagreement, Dennis joked that he was going to kill Telford. At least I think he was kidding.
It was funny hearing Telford, Dennis and Ramos get into an argument this morning after I said something about Iowa being 12-0 in football. Dennis accused Telford and Ramos of jumping on the Hawkeye bandwagon which led to Ramos and Dennis wrestling around a bit in the lobby.
It would be interesting to see Ramos and Dennis face off at the Olympic Trials. I am a big fan of both of those guys, on and off the mat.
After our shopping trip, we headed to the Milad Tower. It is an impressive structure that looks like the Space Needle in Seattle. The Milad Tower is the sixth tallest tower in the world and it is an impressive structure. It is listed at 435 meters tall, which converts to roughly 1,400 feet. That is about one-tenth as tall as Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.
The views from the top of the tower and overlooking Tehran, a city of 13 million, were spectacular.
We had lunch at the top of the Milad Tower before heading back to the hotel for a few hours. Our flight from Tehran to Frankfurt, Germany is scheduled for a 2:40 a.m. departure. We will head to the airport around 10 p.m. International travel can be rough at times.
Most of the group will then fly from Frankfurt to Chicago. I will then complete the journey home with a flight from Chicago to my home in Colorado Springs.
I want to thank Titan Mercury Wrestling Club for making this trip possible. It was a great trip, and awesome to be in a place like Iran that certainly loves the sport of wrestling
It’s been an interesting journey, and if you made it to the end of this blog, thanks for reading.
Please follow the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club online at, on Facebook, and on Twitter @titan_mercury
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