On Thursday, December 12, UFC made a donation of $10,000 to the UNLV Wrestling program in honor of the inaugural QUINTET Ultra 5-on-5 grappling tournament that was held at Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
“We are so thankful for the support of UFC,” explained UNLV Wrestling Head Coach, James Downing. “UNLV Wrestling primarily operates off of private support and fundraising, which is a common model for combat sports, UFC’S donation significantly contributes to ensuring we will have the funding for our team to compete.”
The donation was presented to the team prior to the event to highlight UFC’s support for amateur athletics and specifically for UNLV’s wrestling program, which competes at the club level and is underfunded compared to the schools’ Division 1 sports programs.
“I think wrestling is the best base for MMA,” said Chad Mendes former UFC featherweight title contender and member of QUINTET Ultra’s WEC team. “I remember being a wrestler in college (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) and what it's like having to raise the money to go to tournaments by doing car washes to get plane tickets and rent vans. To have that donation is super special and I think it's awesome UFC did that.”
UNLV Wrestling will use the money to compete in various 2020 NCWA competitions, including the Multi-Team Invitation Dual Meet at Dixie State in St. George, UT, the 2020 NCWA National Duals at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, the NCWA Regional Dual Championship at O’Dell Center in Surprise, AZ, and the West Coast Conference Championships at their home, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“UFC is a worldwide leader in the fight game. Their support has allowed to grow and operate at a high level. We treat the partnership as a privilege and are truly honored to be rewarded for our hard work. Witnessing the excellence of UFC motivates us to get better and see how high our dreams can go,” said Drew O’Neill, Club President, UNLV Wrestling.
This is the second donation this year that UFC has made to UNLV Wrestling. Last July during International Fight Week in Las Vegas, UFC donated $2,000 to the team to help pay for travel expenses to compete in future tournaments.
“I just feel that wrestling is a big part of MMA, and the majority of champions in UFC have a wrestling background,” said Mark Munoz, former UFC middleweight contender. “UFC investing in UNLV Wrestling means that UFC is investing in these collegiate wrestler’s future.”
QUINTET Ultra can be found on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports. Watch now at ufcfightpass.com.