Foley's Friday Mailbag: July 6, 2018

The Cadet World Championships are underway in Zagreb, Croatia, and many of the United States' top 15-17-year-old talent made the journey to represent the Stars and Stripes.

The early results have been promising, with Team USA carrying home a runner-up team finish in freestyle, while women's wrestling has at least one champion with four more competing for gold on Friday.

Iran, the team champions in freestyle, won their first team title in 22 years. That's not a fluke. While the United States has poured money into freestyle development, Iran had been lacking a well-organized national development approach. Then, in 2016 Rasoul Khadem left his post as the head of the freestyle team and took up the job of federation president. One of his first actions was developing a meritocracy among the youth -- the better you performed and more you performed the more opportunities you were given.

Khadem's approach has ruffled more than a few feathers back in Iran (look at this year's senior World Team Trials for evidence of frustrations), but overall the system seems to be working. Investment in the youth has led to somewhat immediate returns.

The same could be said for USA Wrestling and the attention paid to the early development of the men's freestyle team. Brandon Slay, Bill Zadick and now Kevin Jackson have been instrumental in developing the young talent in the United States and getting them ready for the world stage. The job is much more than showing techniques, and typically requires a mind for scheduling and partnering up Cadet and Junior-level wrestlers with the right training opportunities and overall career development.

While the women's program is performing well, there is still work to be done. The interaction between USA Wrestling and the women's college programs needs further development. The youth wrestlers will need more direction and career orientation to make sure they are capitalizing on every available opportunity. To be sure, there is already the mechanisms in place, but additional or new staff would help motivate some of the college-level programs to buy in to the national system and get Terry Steiner more quality athletes competing at all levels.

If the United States women's team's goal is to surpass Japan on the mats, then it's necessary to have leadership to provide end-to-end developmental protocol for the program. With Japan sure to keep improving, there may not be a more challenging, or rewarding, job in all of wrestling than being the grassroots architect of that effort.

To your questions …

Jim Jordan was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014 (Photo/Larry Slater)

Q: You won't want to answer this, but explain to me the situation with Jim Jordan at Ohio State. Who are the former wrestlers accusing him? Why him and not the head coach?
-- @german663

Foley: The story is still unfolding, but for an overview of the incident and recent accusation readers can lean on here and this for context.

The congressman is not being accused of sexual misconduct, but of falling short in not reporting the abuse of athletes by Dr. Strauss, or worse, covering up the matter.

What makes the story compelling is two-fold.

First, the recent scandal at USA Gymnastics and the known predatory behavior of Dr. Strauss lends at least situational credibility to the idea that a coach at a major university may have known something about abuse and not reported it to the proper authorities. Generally, the idea of an institutional coverup is not a foreign concept, nor as we've recently learned, is it unlikely in these types of cases.

The second is that Rep. Jordan is seeking to become the House Speaker for the remainder of the 2018-2019 congress. That campaign (a painful game of DC-insider baseball) was never given much promise of success, but these accusations make it much less likely that rank-and-file would want to attach themselves to the congressman's campaign when there is little to gain outside of the power-brokering in DC.

There is enough for anyone to report, but where the story gets into twists and turns is in the accusations themselves, which as of now have been mostly anonymous. Unlike the Nassar case where hundreds of young women stepped forward with detailed accusations, the Strauss cases have not been as detailed or robust. Many of the victims are reported to be male and are now in their 40's and 50's -- assuming the accusations are true there is much lower rate of reporting by men of this category.

The main wild card is that the accusations are being led by Michael DiSabato, who has a long and at times confrontational relationship with the wrestling community and the Jordan family.

I don't wish to adjudicate the validity of the claims from my office desk, because I don't have all the facts and I think there is context which makes this case dangerous for anyone picking sides. The case of Denny Hastert -- fairly or unfairly -- looms over this case. The former Speaker was found to have molested young boys while a wrestling coach in Illinois in the 1970's and then paid off families of the accusers well into the aughties. The payoffs are what got him but were it not for that fraud investigation (pulling $9,900 out of the bank every two weeks is suspicious) there is almost no chance anyone would have believed the accusers.

That includes me. I interned for the Speaker for two years while in college and though I had limited interactions with him from my front office position, there was a sense that he was one of the good guys in DC. He was well-respected for candor and honesty, all the while holding on to his secret past as pedophile and rapist.

As for why not Russ Hellickson, I can only guess the motives, but certainly as I already covered, Rep. Jordan is a high-profile individual looking to become the third-most powerful person in the United States, making his involvement more relevant to the larger audience. Still, I can't speak to the individual motivations of those making the accusations.

Let's see how this plays out, but for certain these claims have seemed to sink Jordan's hopes for attaining the Speakership in 2018.

Q: How do you see Daniel Cormier winning on Saturday night against Stipe Miocic?
-- Will D.

Foley: First, it's INSANE to me that Cormier is 2-1 'dog. Makes no sense to discount his championships that much simply because he's facing a slightly larger human. Good value in that line.

While Cormier is giving up an 8-inch reach advantage, he has a few notable competitive advantages on Miocic that I think will give him the edge: endurance, experience, transitional wrestling, and ground control.

Further, he's also a sizable guy himself who has fought and won at heavyweight, notably wining the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP which included Fedor. No telling what he will weigh the day of the fight, but I'm guessing he tips in at 235 pounds, which is probably 30 pounds lighter than Miocic. That's some chunk, but it's marginal in terms of percentage when comparing to guys who bump up from 155 to 170.

Q: Johny Hendricks, Rashad Evans and Josh Koscheck all retired in the same week. Did any of their retirement announcements surprise you?
-- Mike C.

Foley: The only surprise was the rapid-fire timing. They are likely all in casting calls for studio positions with ESPN for their upcoming five-year UFC deal. Evans is the clear front-runner as he already does a lot of in-studio work and is well-liked/knowledgeable, but it's possible that these other guys could land in good spots on either Bellator, UFC or even ONE Championship coverage.


Olympic champion Soslan Romanov reappeared in international competition this week at the Tblisi Grand Prix, losing in the finals 3-2 to defending 65-kilogram world champion Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia).

Watch. This. Reshot.

Love this match.

World champion Shilson!

Q: I heard Chael Sonnen on a recent podcast mention that USA Wrestling implemented a rule in 1993 that wrestlers cannot compete on the U.S. World Team in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. He wasn't sure if the rule had changed. Do you know? Had Adam Coon beaten Nick Gwiazdowski, could he have wrestled both freestyle and Greco in Budapest?
-- Mike C.

Foley: Chael Sonnen is entertaining, but the man almost never has his facts straight. Yes, Coon could have competed in both styles. No, that was never a hard-and-fast rule.

Q: What do you think about Lander University naming R.C. LaHaye as head wrestling coach? Exciting times in South Carolina.
-- @hillcrestwrst

Foley: Expansion at the smaller divisions has been a boon to programs in the South, including South Carolina. Hiring a successful coach that meets the needs of your program is always the goal and from what I'm reading the state's wrestling population, and other stakeholders, seem to feel they've found the best fit for their program. Very exciting indeed!

By Jim F.

I enjoyed reading your reflections on Chinese cities Taiyung and Xhinzhou, and how wrestling is part of the culture. Having wrestled in the Lehigh Valley many moons ago, I can really appreciate that (although the LV comes up short on the statue front).

A minor but-personal point of contention: You note that Xhinzhou is the epicenter of Chinese wrestling, kind of like Easton, Pennsylvania, being the epicenter of U.S. wrestling.

Although Easton historically has had a very powerful high school wrestling team, the epicenter of wrestling is just west on Rt 22: Bethlehem. In addition to very good high school teams (at least back in the day), Bethlehem has Lehigh University, with its renowned program, training center and summer camps. And for added fun, Bethlehem and Lehigh host the National Prep Wrestling Championships every single year.

Enjoy your China trip, and safe travels!


InterMat owner/editor Andrew Hipps is getting wedded this weekend! There are a lot of platitudes thrown out about kindness, but Andrew is the nicest guy I've ever met in the sport. He's Minnesota nice. Andrew works hard, loves wrestling and is dedicated to improving both InterMat and those who work on the site. He's a great friend and will make for a caring and present husband. Congrats, Andrew!


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Keyser Soze83 (2) about 9 months ago
The whole Jim Jordan thing is 100% political. I know disabato through a mutual friend and have gotten into heated arguments with him in years past. He is one of those left wing fanatics that are an embarrassment to the democratic party and won the election for Donald Trump.

In addition the other clown that is talking bad things about Mr. Jordan is named dunyasha yetts. This guy is a convicted felon that stole millions from investors and was an agent for football players that wasted my time because he made promises that he could never follow through on. He is making comments for two reasons 1 he wants to tear down the republicn party and this is is chance to do it and 2 he wants 15 min of fame not thinking that as soon as he spoke to the media as a credible source everyone that knows him or knows of him would slam the truth down on the table for all to see.

Foley if you think that Stipe is going to get beat you may want to see his history as the only heavyweight in UFC history that has successfully defended his belt 3 times. Cormier is a stud but you giving him BS props for winning a title in Strikeforce Heavyweight GP which included Fedor (wtf is that? he never fought Fedor so why make it seem like he beat the guy in your comments?) Strikeforce isn't the UFC and almost all of his fights have been at the little boy weight class of 205. Not going to happen Stipe is a modern day gladiator that has an engine that never quits.
The Du (1) about 9 months ago
Easton is the epicenter of the universe. Not just wrestling, Jim.

Foley has it right!
MLJ (1) about 9 months ago
- When the NCAA inevitably recognizes/supports women's wrestling, will it be Folkstyle or Freestyle? One would think wrestling freestyle within the college season would help our women's international team.

- Cormier is a legit heavyweight. After all, before he cut down to 205, he beat Soa Palelei, Bigfoot Silva (who are giants). Plus, he beat Tony Johnson (who has a win over Derrick Lewis and Alex Volkov - who is undefeated in the UFC. Lastly, he beat up former WBA heavyweight boxing champ, Lucas Browne...although it was in an MMA match, not a boxing match).

Will DC win? Not sure. Would I be shocked if he does? No.
trescuit11 (2) about 9 months ago
the kyle dake match was boring with a million stoppages. what was to love about it?
djhart69 (2) about 9 months ago
I'm not nearly as concerned about what Jordan knew about the team doctor in 1986 as I am about what he's doing now. Did you see his unhinged attack on Asst AG Rosenstein in a public hearing? It was as disgraceful as it was laughable.
Why do you think Jordan and so many Extreme Right politicians are constantly attacking Rosenstein, the FBI and Mueller? Is it to protect Trump? Or themselves?
They want the Special Counsel investigation discredited or stopped completely because Dirty Russian money flooded into GOP campaign coffers in 2016.
Jabr8319 (1) about 9 months ago
@djhart69 It is hysterical that people are so up in arms over Russian money in an election, when AIPAC and Israel have buying our politicians for decades. Where's the outrage? Why is Israel allowed to dump money in elections, but not Russia? Why don't you get worked up when our elected officials, and candidates have to get on their knees and grovel to the Israeli lobbyists? Anyone who even mentions Russia interfering, but hasn't said a word about the $17m spent in 2016 alone by Israeli interests, is a hypocrite and a fraud.
Berwickwrestling (2) about 9 months ago
I'm sorry to see that you're left-winged bias has finally pushed what use to be a formidable wrestling site into another worthless political arm. What's wrong with keeping wrestling about wrestling? It's time for the remaining Intermat fans to flock to Flowrestling permanently!
giessmann (4) about 9 months ago
Alright guys, I'm the one who asked the question about Jim Jordan. Although I agree there is a political dimension to this issue, that doesn't mean we need to spiral off into a left/right hate-fest.

The reason I asked was because I'm not familiar with the guy who is leading the accusations and I wanted some background on who he is. What was his record? Was he ever an All-American. Etc.

Another thing I was wondering about - and should have asked- is who was the head coach back then, and why isn't he being named? Rather than an assistant coach? (Cuz he's not in congress, I guess. )

Anyway, it's summer. I miss football (real American football) and wrestling. Let's be civil and argue about singlets or something inane like that.
grapplefan (1) about 9 months ago
Everyone knows that Iowa City is the epicenter of US wrestling, and has been for some time. Like Xhinzhou, they have a statue there, and so many wrestling fans that it took a stadium to hold them a couple of years ago.
rizzo (1) about 9 months ago
Former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman has became the fifth former Ohio State University wrestler to claim publicly that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) knew about allegations of sexual misconduct by a team doctor when he was an assistant coach in the 1990s.
coolbeans (2) about 9 months ago
Jordan is on a committee that is investigating the largest political corruption in the American History.

The crooked pedophiliac politicians who have been lying and stealing from us are about to go to prison where they rightly belong. So the professional con artist's will go to any length to discredit the real facts or witnesses. I look up to anyone who stands up and says "enough is enough". We need more Americans with balls. Turn off the propaganda machine (TV) and turn on your brains.

Gotta love Dake
twolverton (1) about 9 months ago
It would be foolish not to believe that there is a political angle to the accusations against Jordan. Regardless, if he was aware and did nothing, that is similar to Joe Paterno and his failure with Sandusky. We can argue kids vs. adults, but the reality is that when a person in a position of responsibility such as a college coach, there is responsibility. While there are credibility issues with some of those on the record, there is some smoke here and Hellickson's silence may be the strongest sign that there may be smoke. That said, when there is a cover up it seems as if they unravel at some point. No clue if Mark Coleman is a credible person, but he is more recognizable than the others and maybe that is valid.
tortola15 (1) about 9 months ago
The sexual abuse took place at OSU on Jordan’s watch. My guess he takes credit for all the success during his stay, right? But he says he did not see nothing like old Colonel Klink from TV’s Hogan’s Heroes. We should give Jordan the same due process he affords other people. Just the same treatment is fair.
Cp157 (1) about 9 months ago
Bravo Mr Foley, you managed to make your points, express your beliefs in a solid way that didn’t come a cross as virtue signaling for the Huffington Post.

On a more serious note, what do you think should be done to grow wrestling in the US at a grassroots level and in places like the inner city. This is where I’d like to know if your preaching meets actions. Having had a chance to work in both elite programs and struggling. There is a legitimate danger of wrestling in the US becoming a rich suburban mostly white sport and disappearing from high schools.

But hey more world medals will make that ok? Right. This is an issue the “1%” in wrestling doesn’t like to acknowledge
Marcus Cisero (2) about 9 months ago
There’s no question about, at least for me. Foley has ruined this site with his left wing biases. I cringe every time he mentions “women’s wrestling.” Why not just say “wrestling. Doesn’t that cover it all? He wants so badly to be on record supporting women so he’s never challenged for not doing so. What an absolute embarrassment. Why does upper management not see what happened to Starbucks when they publically took one side. Favoring one side by alienating the other is not good business practice. They closed a bunch of stores and the CEO stepped down almost immediately after shutting down 8000 stores for some silly “training.” Do you really think anti Conservative comments and favoring the title nine destroyers of our sport is going to motivate me to join Intermat?? You got to be kidding me. I wouldn’t spend a dime on this site, not now and not ever, as long as Foley is still employed there. Just one man’s observations and opinion.
Cradle2thegrave (1) about 9 months ago
Then don’t spend a dime, enjoy something else
Cradle2thegrave (2) about 9 months ago
I have been reading the mailbag since it started and week in and week out I never see the “agenda,” you all always point out. I see your interpretation of what is said and honestly, when you all post your opinion I can see ignorance in the responses which makes me immediately not look at you with any credibility. Granted, it is funny and interesting to read these rants occasionally, but moreso I think why are these people continuing to read? You all preach about keeping it to wrestling, yet you are the ones repeatedly and repeatedly and repeatedly and repeatedly (yes I said it 4 times and the same annoying feeling you felt is what most of us feel when you comment) are the ones bringing politics into this. The info is here to educate. You don’t want that want everyone to live in your little paradigm of thought and the world isn’t that way. Read something else. By the way, Foley isn’t the only person pushing women’s wrestling. Get in touch with the world.
Marcus Cisero (1) about 9 months ago
No way you’re a wrestling fan, at least not the ones I’ve associated with for decades. I’ve had have the pleasure of sitting at the 50 yard line during every Pennsylvania state wrestling championship for many many years and NEVER ONCE has any one coach, assistant coach, former coach or wrestlers ever spoke about the fallacy that women wrestling is good for the sport. NOT ONCE. I’m not buying the individuals here who support this crap are actually fans at all <wink>. Until EVERY eliminated men’s wrestling program is reinstated, then and only then am I open to dialogue. Question: Why do men subscribers have to foot the bill for articles that are about women.? Are we to believe women wrestlers subscribe too? I do not believe that, not for a NY minute. Let’s face it. Women ruined MMA, and they’re about to do the same with MENS Wrestling. The men who allowed this to happen – in my opinion, aren’t men at all. What an embarrassment.
Cradle2thegrave (1) about 9 months ago
No way I’m a wrestling fan? Lol, again ignorance. I grew up wrestling in PA and Ohio, started wrestling in PA at a young age and graduated from a nationally ranked team in Northeast Ohio, also a 2 year captain and 4 year starter DI in college. Guess your observations are spot on lol. I am also a high school head coach currently, but that’s ok. I don’t need to continue trying to convince someone in your place of me being a wrestling fan. Not breaking through that bubble you have and definitely not making a dent in your twisted view. I’ll just continue reading and enjoying while you read and keep roaring up the misery. We will see who is happier. Best
MallnOates (1) about 9 months ago
The invention of the Internet unfortunately gave you a voice...
MallnOates (1) about 9 months ago
Also the above comment was to Marcus Cisero
rowboat (2) about 9 months ago
ResiliteMarine (2) about 8 months ago
This sucks.
Other than The Open Mat, USA Wrestling site, where are we going for wrestling news, just wrestling?
JoeOhio (1) about 8 months ago
It is time for Russ Hellickson to rise and speak the truth about what happened to tOSU wrestlers on his team. Not through a PR firm.
seeyajohn2 (1) about 8 months ago
Let me plead again. Please put a limit on 100 words per comment and three comments per mailbag on this site. These folks are out of hand!
djhart69 (1) about 8 months ago
Of course Jordan is lying. He's a Republican, that's what they do, that's what they are expected to do. That's what their voting base wants them to do. They have become the party of Con Artists, White Collar Criminals, fake Christians and Fascists. With very few exceptions they are void of ethics, decency, honesty and are hell-bent on destroying traditional American principals. They are hostile to the Constitution, Democracy and the rule of law. Jim Jordan is no exception.
tortola15 (1) about 8 months ago
Whoops! Let's go to the video tape...seems the OSU Head Coach Jim Jordan worked for is to have said he knew about the sexual perversion in and around the OSU wrestling program. Jordan said no coach knew of sex abuse and this OSU coach backed him up.

Now the lies are starting to unravel.

Why do strong men lie? JJ supporters chime in please.