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Askren Brothers Return to Headline AGON III: Festival of Funk

By Kevin Schlosser, 12/23/13, 6:45PM EST


“First Family of Funk” to Roll into 2014 with AGON III in Wisconsin


(Columbus, OH)   The AGON Wrestling Championships will start the New Year with a bang and stage their third event in Whitewater, Wisconsin.  Whether it is an instate rivalry or a border war, the action will be hot and the wrestling will be intense as eight competitors will step on the mat for the AGON III WC: Festival of Funk.  The competition is scheduled to be held in conjunction with a youth wrestling tournament on January 26, 2014 in the Williams Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  CF Athletic, the AWA Winter Wrestling Classic, and Tiffin Mats are sponsoring the event and a live webcast of AGON III on the AGON website,


Wisconsin wrestling icon and rising MMA superstar Ben Askren will headline the Festival of Funk with a bout against Illinois native Mike PoetaMax Askren will face Michigan native Ben Bennett; NCAA champion Craig Becker is slated to face John Mesenbrink; and college coaches Luke Smith and Chris Heilman will complete the card.


"What a better way to start the New Year than rolling with "First Family of Funk" in Whitewater, Wisconsin," offered CF Athletic and AGON WC co-founder Mike DiSabato when asked about two Askren brothers on the same card.  "Twice the action, twice the fun, they are two Wisconsin boys that are ready, willing, and able to have some fun and go on a run."

A two-time Wisconsin state champion at Arrowhead HS, Ben Askren was a four-time NCAA finalist and an undefeated two-time NCAA champion for the University of Missouri in 2006 and 2007.  A two-time Hodge Award winner as the most dominant college wrestler, Askren was a 2008 Olympian for the United States and a 2009 Grappling World Champion for Team USA.   Making the transition to mixed martial arts, the former Bellator Welterweight World Champion and current ONE FC fighter has built a 12-0 record in the cage.

Askren was dominant in his return to the mat for his first wrestling match in almost four years at AGON I with a 22-8 victory against two-time NCAA champion Quentin Wright.  At AGON III he will fan the flames of the Illinois-Wisconsin wrestling rivalry when he steps on the mat against Michael Poeta.  An assistant coach at the University of Illinois, Poeta was a three-time NCAA All-American and a two-time NCAA finalist for the Fighting Illini.

 “This will be awesome for me because I have not competed in my home state in any fashion since high school,” stated Ben Askren “It has been a long time and it will feel great to get things going in front of a home crowd again. “

Max Askren, a three-time Wisconsin state place winner, was a three-time NCAA All-American and the 2010 NCAA champion for the University of Missouri.  His opponent, Ben Bennett, a three-time Michigan state champion was a four-time NCAA All-American at Central Michigan.  Both wrestlers participated at the AGON II Wrestling Championships in Flint, Michigan so each knows what to expect from a nine minute AGON war. 

A pair of Wisconsin college coaches will headline the other two matches on the card with Craig Becker representing the University of Wisconsin Parkside and Chris Heilman on staff at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.  Becker, a two-time NCAA All-American and the 2010 Division II NCAA champion, will face Askren Wrestling Academy head coach John Mesenbrink.  Heilman, a three-time All-American at Cornell College (IA), will face Wisconsin native Luke Smith in final bout on the card.  Smith, a two-time Wisconsin state champion, was a four-year starter and two-time MAC champion at Central Michigan University and is currently in his third year as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University.     

Ben Askren, the Head Matchmaker for the AGON Wrestling Championships, is pleased that they have been able to assemble another card that has local, regional, and national interest.

“I have a great connection with most of the top athletes today in wrestling and MMA because they are my peers.  I think everyone in both communities would love to see the growth of a professional league for wrestlers and I am going to do my best to make it happen,” stated Askren.  “AGON represents a chance to give wrestling a professional platform it has never had for our top athletes to showcase their skills.”

The AGON III WC: Festival of Funk will be held in conjunction with the AWA Winter Classic wrestling tournament being ran by the Askren Wrestling Academies.  The tournament is open to all children that want to attend from kindergarten to eighth grade.  The grade school divisions will wrestle in the morning at 9:00 am, AGON III will be held at 1:00 pm, and the junior high division will start in the afternoon at approximately 2:00 pm.  Registration is open until Friday, January 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm.  For additional information on the Winter Classic please visit the AWA at

The AGON I Wrestling Championships were held in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 27, 2013.  Ben Askren defeated Quentin Wright 22-8 in the main event and former NCAA champions Jay Borschel, Jordan Oliver, and Stephen Abas each were victorious on the inaugural card.  Borschel defeated Aaron Simpson 11-3; Oliver shut out Lance Palmer 8-0; and Abas, a 2004 Olympian, narrowly edged Nick Simmons 2-1.   The AGON II Wrestling Championships were held in Flint, Michigan on December 22, 2013. Hometown hero Brent Metcalf shutout Chris Bono 19-0 in the main event and former NCAA champions Kellen Russell, Max Askren, and Cam Simaz won their first AGON bouts.  Russell shut down Andy Simmons 9-0; Askren stopped Sam Wendland 21-10; and Simaz defeated Ben Bennett in a battle of four-time NCAA All-Americans.

"We have a great card at Agon III.  We have the “First Family of Funk;” Ben Askren versus Mike Poeta and Max Askren versus Ben Bennett, there are going to be a lot of points scored in Whitewater,” offered Mike DiSabato when asked about the card.  “I wouldn’t overlook the other matches either because Mesenbrink, Becker, Heilman, and Smith aren’t going there to play a sport; they are going there to wrestle on a professional mat in the United States of America. Everyone is going to bring it.” 

For the guys that were at AGON I, AGON II, and on the card at AGON III, together, these men are putting it on the line and doing their part to make the world’s oldest sport, America’s greatest sport,” concluded DiSabato.

To participate in the AGON Wrestling Championships conference call at 2:00 pm on January 6, please email the moderator Kevin Schlosser at  to request an invitation.  After your request is received, media members will be emailed instructions on how to participate and an agenda for the call.   

For more information on the AGON Wrestling Championships please visit their website at

For additional details on the AWA Winter Classic please view the AWA release below:

To register online for the AWA Winter Classic:

AGON III Wrestling Championships: (1/26/2014)

Ben Askren vs Michael Poeta

Max Askren vs. Ben Bennett

Craig Becker vs. John Mesenbrink

Chris Heilman vs. Luke Smith

Whitewater, Wisconsin – Williams Center

Images courtesy of Scott Terna, Ohio Wrestling News and Mike DiSabato, All Rights Reserved AGON WC, Lutte Licensing

Olympians Ben Askren, Russ Hellickson, & Lee Kemp broadcasting at AGON II WC in Flint, Michigan on December 22, 2014