Bo Nickal is being pulled in a few different directions in his MMA debut. He’s the face of Penn State, the new face of NCAA wrestling and the face of ATT Happy Valley. Who exactly does Nickal feel he’s representing the most?
Outside of obviously fighting for his own legacy, his friends, family and hometown, there are more people in more different crews depending on Nickal than almost anybody to ever debut.
Overlapping fans thought they understood the need for Nickal’s success until they watched Chael Sonnen’s video laying it all out as clearly as can be. Penn State fans thought the victory parade would run a little longer than anywhere else and then Nickal went and franchised out an American Top Team gym in Happy Valley.
There are hundreds of people loyal to Nickal, but who is he the most loyal to?
“I’m loyal to all these people: Penn State, American Top Team, the sport of wrestling. But, in a big sense, I feel like I’m representing the sport of wrestling, and American wrestling, specifically,” Nickal said. “I grew up traveling the country, going to wrestling and going from state to state to find better opportunities for me to compete and train. I really feel going into the sport of MMA that I’m coming in for the wrestling community. I’m here to show every other person, every MMA fan, every other person involved in another combat sport, what we’re about as wrestlers.”
Obviously, every single person involved is a winner when Nickal is a winner. The bigger he gets, the stronger the gym grows, the stronger the gym grows, and the more standouts from Penn State stick around.
Make no mistake about it, Nickal has eagerly thrown the sport of wrestling on his back. He also definitively warns everybody in the sport that he’s not the last Nittany Lion coming down the pipeline.
His hard work now pays off for the school he loves for years to come.
“I’m learning and developing and trying to improve and figuring stuff out so these young Penn State guys who want to make the transition over in the next five years or so have a path set out for them,” Nickal said. “I’ll be able to help guide them through that. I feel like I’m one of the first, but there’s a lot more of us coming and they’re all going to be coming from Happy Valley.”
Enemies beware. Nickal, ATT Happy Valley, American wrestling and Penn State are about to kick the door they opened years ago off the hinges. When all is said and done, Nickal doesn’t care if people call him the benchmark of MMA. He’s saving that spot for all wrestlers looking to make that jump.
“I have two fights and another one coming up, and after every one of my fights there will be more and more believers, and by the end of my career, everyone will know American wrestling is the standard,” Nickal said.
Catch the MMA debut of Bo Nickal at iKon FC on June 3, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!