Pat Miletich will receive the first-ever George Tragos award. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum Thursday announced that former UFC champion Pat Miletich will receive the organization's first MMA-related award.
Miletich will receive the amateur wrestling organization's first-ever George Tragos award, which honors wrestlers who have adapted their skills to excel in mixed martial arts.
"Pat Miletich is the perfect person to receive this inaugural award because of his diverse accomplishments," said Kyle Klingman, director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. "Pat's name was at the top of everyone's list to receive this award because he embodies wrestling through mixed martial arts and, most importantly, through training others to be successful."
Miletich will receive the award at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend spanning July 22-23. Tragos, after whom the award is named, was a skilled submission wrestler during the 1920s and 1930s while throwing the discus for Greece in the 1924 Olympic Games.
The UFC's first welterweight champion, Miletich debuted with the UFC in 1998 and would go on to capture the belt later that year at Ultimate Brazil. The fighter holds notable wins over Mikey Burnett, Jose Landi-Jons and Shonie Carter and is also revered for his work as a trainer. The founder of Miletich Fighting Systems, the former champion has groomed such champions as Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver and Tim Sylvia inside his Bettendorf, Iowa, facility.
1972 Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa head coach Dan Gable will present Miletich with his award.
"I give [Miletich] a lot of credit for the development of mixed martial arts," said Gable. "He is one of the guys who had the foresight to believe that MMA could be a thriving entity. When I think of mixed martial arts, I think of Pat Miletich. He was a wrestler from Iowa who continues to push and believe in wrestling."