Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender and NCAA wrestling champion Mark Muñoz will be on Kauai hosting clinics.
“I worked with Mark at his gym that he owned, the Reign Training Center in California,” said Kauai High School assistant wrestling coach Paul La Blanc on Wednesday. “I used to coach wrestling over there.”
“Wrestling is pretty new on Kauai. We were at a coaches meeting, and we were trying to figure out ways to get interest in the sport and get kids to find out about wrestling,” La Blanc added. “We came up with the idea of, we’ve had some other commissions come out, some good coaches. … I know a guy that I could probably get him to come out here that kids would get excited to meet. I just contacted Mark, and he said, ‘Sure.’”
Muñoz, known as “The Filipino Wrecking Machine,” will head four clinics during his visit:
w Friday, Aug. 18: wrestling seminar at Westside Wrestling Club in Waimea from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
w Friday, Aug. 18: “Wrestling for Jiu Jitsu” clinic at Longman Jiu Jitsu North Shore Academy in Kilauea from 5:30-8 p.m. Cost is $40. Registration at the door at 4:30 p.m.
w Saturday, Aug. 19: wrestling clinic at Kauai High School for K-12 students from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $35. Parents can register at 7:30 a.m. at the school’s gym. Students asked to bring water and a snack lunch.
w Saturday, Aug. 19: “Wrestling for MMA Clinic” at Hanapepe Judo from 4-6:30 p.m. Cost is $40, or $30 for those who attended the clinic at Longman Jiu Jitsu North Shore Academy. Registration at 3 p.m.
“We’ve coached kids as young as 5-6 years old. (It’s for) anybody, not just the current wrestlers in high school but anybody — any young boy or girls that might want to learn something about wrestling, that might want to do wrestling to improve any other grappling arts that they do,” La Blanc said. “The great thing about having a guy like Mark come out is not only is he a really good coach, but he’s a really good role model. He does anti-bullying talks. He’s a motivational speaker. … He’s a really positive role model for kids to learn from.”
Muñoz has a 14-6 MMA record. His last bout was a unanimous decision win over Luke Marnatt in UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Faber in May of 2015 in the Philippines. His wins include one Fight of the Night honor, a technical knockout victory over Maui native Kendall Grove in UFC 112 in April 2010.
As a collegiate wrestler, Muñoz won 121 matches for Oklahoma State University, was a two-time All-American and won an NCAA national championship in the 197-pound weight class in 2001.
“We are always anxious to have any sort of visiting wrestlers come and help us out,” said Westside Wrestling Club director Mac Pigott. “We had Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun at practice. We had Liberty University coach Allen Hackmann. We had Ursinus coach Bill Racich. So, we’ve had a busy summer with camps and clinics. We’re definitely anxious to continue that with Mark.”