Bellator Signs Four-Time All-American Larkin

By Brian Knapp Aug 9, 2010
Bellator Fighting Championships on Monday announced the acquisition of four-time collegiate All-American wrestler Eric Larkin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Larkin entered mixed martial arts following a decorated career as an amateur wrestler. A four-time Pac-10 Conference champion at Arizona State University, he won a national title at the Div. I level (149 pounds) in 2003. He finished 34-0 as a senior that year, earning the Dan Hodge Trophy -- amateur wrestling’s equivalent to the Heisman. The 30-year-old ranks sixth on the Arizona State all-time list with 123 wins.

“Larkin’s wrestling pedigree is as good as anyone competing in our sport today,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a release. “Larkin possesses an overwhelming amount of athleticism, which gives him huge potential to become a top fighter in the sport.”

Unbeaten in two professional MMA appearances, Larkin debuted with a first-round rear-naked choke submission against Bob Tuttle four months ago in South Dakota. He last appeared in May, when he stopped Bruce Johnson on first-round punches under the Optimum Fighting Championships banner. Larkin trains with 2010 Bellator welterweight tournament winner Ben Askren at the Lions Den Scottsdale camp.

“I have the same outlook on my approach to the fight game that Ben does: I’m going to take you down and ground-and-pound you until someone can stop it,” Larkin said. “I’m really looking forward to testing myself with Bellator. It’s time to gauge myself and see where I’m at.”
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