Bellator snagged a potential MMA superstar with the signing of Aaron Pico to a “long-term contract”. The announcement came Saturday evening during Bellator 131. Pico is considered the #1 MMA prospect due to his well groomed amateur championship boxing and his hard nosed international championship level wrestling.
Pico, 18, has already leaped onto the MMA scene before he has even fought a fight. The California native has already captured a FILA Cadet World Championship in addition to his prestigious national titles in boxing and pankration. Pico has become known as a dominate wrestler with his aggressive wrestling style, yet the former Junior Golden Gloves Champion believes his standup game to be most pure.
Pico’s MMA contract with Bellator will have him fighting in their cage for years to come. Before he plans to jump into the MMA cage, Pico is preparing for a 2016 Olympic run.
“When it comes to any big decision I make, I sit down with my family, my management team at Zinkin and the people that are around me that I trust,” Pico said. “We wanted an opportunity to achieve my dreams in the 2016 Olympics and transition into MMA, and when we sat down with Bellator, Viacom and Scott Coker, everything just sort of fell into place and I couldn’t be happier to be here and be a part of the Bellator family.”
The young prospect decided over a year ago that he would forgo high school and college wrestling, to pursue his wrestling career on international freestyle. The newly inked Bellator fighter won the 2013 FILA Cadet World title, and won a silver medal at the 2014 FILA Junior World Championships in freestyle.
He also won a Senior-level bronze medal in the respected Soslan Andiev International in Russia. Pico has competed in numerous Senior-level international tournaments within the last year. Pico has claimed victories over several big name wrestlers including NCAA All-American Zain Retherford of Penn State.
“Simply put, Aaron has all the makings of MMA’s next great superstar, and to have him here at Bellator is something special,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “Like many of us in the MMA community, Aaron is someone we’ve been watching closely over the last few years, and after sitting down with Bob Cook and his team, getting a chance to meet Aaron, and hearing his long-term aspirations, the fit became very obvious. I’m not only excited to see what Aaron is going to be able to do in our cage, but also watching him represent our country in 2016 at the Olympics.”
Expect to see Pico competing at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships hosted in Las Vegas, September 7-12, 2015. The World Wrestling Championships is the first qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Below is a match between Aaron Pico and Penn State’s All-American Zain Retherford.
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