Nickal plans to enter MMA, open gym in State College

Bo Nickal shoots on J'den Cox at Final X (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Bo Nickal, three-time NCAA champ for Penn State who is now making his mark in freestyle competition, is already making career plans once he steps off for the last time.

The 2019 Hodge Trophy winner and InterMat Wrestler of the Year has revealed plans to enter mixed martial arts competition after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and open an MMA gym in the place the Texas native has called home during his college career, according to multiple media reports.

"My plan right now is to start a gym in State College, Pennsylvania at Penn State and partner with American Top Team," Nickal said on "The Luke Thomas Show" on SiriusXM radio Monday.

"We're going to have an American Top Team up here in State College and be able to access all the resources of ATT," Nickal said, "and at the same time be able to bring Penn State wrestling [closer] to the MMA world and elevate the level of wrestling in MMA and get a lot of athletes and guys that come out of Penn State and other wrestling programs, give them the opportunity to train here and give other guys that maybe didn't train wrestling growing up, don't have a wrestling background, the opportunity to get the best wrestling training in the world."

Nickal added, "I'm super excited to stay in State College, stay close to my friends and family and team and coaches and continue to keep improving, getting better and making a lot of waves in the MMA community and the MMA world."

Back in April on an interview on ESPN, Nickal made clear the timing of his career plans.

"The plan is to do the Olympics in 2020," Nickal said. "Then start fighting."

Bo Nickal's interview on "The Luke Thomas Show" came on the heels of the announcement on Instagram from First Round Management CEO Malki Kawa that Nickal had signed with his management company.

"Very excited to announce that @firstroundmgmt has signed @pennstatewrest #legend @nobickal1 to an exclusive mgmt contract. Bo is a 3 time national champion and the prestigious 2019 #hodgetrophy recipient. Bo will be getting ready for the Olympic trials and make a run at the Olympics before he transitions full time to mma. Stay tuned, as there will be other big announcements, including the launch of his new gym! Welcome to the #frm fam BO‼️"

Bo Nickal isn't the only 2019 NCAA champ for Penn State who is revealing his plans to eventually launch a pro MMA career.

Anthony Cassar, defending NCAA heavyweight champ, also envisions fighting in MMA at some point after his collegiate eligibility expires at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

"I grew up watching Fedor Emelianenko and Vitor Belfort as a kid," Cassar said in an interview with ESPN. "It's one of my goals, and I'm going to immerse myself in it someday."

If Nickal and Cassar do choose to swap out in their singlets for fight shorts someday, they will be joining a number of former Penn State wrestlers who have found success in MMA, including Phil Davis, Ed Ruth, and current BRAVE CF featherweight champion Bubba Jenkins.


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Bill9879 (3) about 1 year ago
I can't wait to see Nickal and Cassar in MMA...I want to see some professional fighters knock their arrogance out of their thick skulls when they bloody up their smirks...just want to see both those numbskulls NOT win.
Pete the Streak (1) about 1 year ago
Yeah, Bill - you tell 'em!
You're another career HS JV wrestler, but an All-American keyboard warrior.
The King (1) about 1 year ago
Tough guy Bill, go say it to their face!
Willie (1) about 1 year ago
Maybe he will do it.
After all, look at all the talk Ben Askren put out and his accomplishments in the Olympics and MMA.
yeteyop (1) about 9 months ago
JacobLaw (1) about 8 months ago
Here you can find help