Hawkeyes, Cowboys booked for wrestling Bout at the Ballpark
ARLINGTON, Texas — A unique wrestling doubleheader featuring the top teams in both college and international competition has been scheduled for Globe Life Field on Feb. 12, 2022.
Details of Bout at the Ballpark, which will include dual matches between the University of Iowa and Oklahoma State and senior national teams from the United States and Iran were announced Tuesday by REV Entertainment, which will host and operate the event.
Tickets for Bout at the Ballpark will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. texasrangers.com/wrestling. The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., will be streamed live by FloSports.
“I am very excited to announce Bout at the Ballpark,” said REV Entertainment President Sean Decker. “We are proud to have the opportunity to host a competition that celebrate four of the most iconic brands in the sport of wrestling, the Oklahoma State Cowboys against the Iowa Hawkeyes and USA Wrestling versus Iran. I want to thank these four great programs for their incredible cooperation in helping us put together this spectacular wrestling event.”
The Iowa-Oklahoma State dual and the United States-Iran exhibition meet will take place simultaneously beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 with bouts from the two competitions alternating throughout the event on two different mats. This will mark the first time a senior-level international meet and an NCAA meet will operate in this format.
Iowa vs. Oklahoma State is one of the most decorated rivalry in college sports. The Cowboys’ 34 NCAA team championships represent the NCAA record for most titles in one sport for any school and the Hawkeyes’ 24 ties for third. This will be the 55th meeting between these storied NCAA wrestling programs with Oklahoma State holding a 29-23-2 advantage.
“This is a no-brainer for us,” said Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands. “It’s Oklahoma State. It’s outside the box. It’s international and I know it will be done right. We need to be ready to go.”
OSU has claimed 55 team conference titles in its history, as well as 143 NCAA individual champions and 481 All-Americans, both of which rank No. 1 nationally by a wide margin. Oklahoma State wrestlers have also made 41 Olympic appearances, winning 11 gold medals and 16 total medals to go along with 19 more medals at the world championships. OSU finished third in the 2021 NCAA Championships. The Cowboys are coached by former Olympic gold medal wrestler and six-time world champion John Smith, who has won five NCAA Championships since becoming head coach in 1991.
“The Oklahoma State-Iowa series is one of the best things the sport of wrestling has to offer,” Smith said. “The history of both programs speaks for itself, and it’s always matched by the intensity on the mat. I’m excited to show this rivalry to a new part of the country and help grow our sport in the process.”
Iowa won the 2021 NCAA Championship while also earning its 37th Big Ten title. Iowa’s 55 NCAA Champions have won a total of 85 NCAA individual titles, crowning seven three-time and 16 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 117 Big Ten champions have combined for 207 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 19 three-time, and 31 two-time Big Ten champions from Iowa. Iowa’s 161 All-Americans have earned All-America status 352 times, including 22 four-time, 40 three-time and 41 two-time honorees. Forty Iowa wrestlers have combined to win 11 Olympic and World Championships gold medals. The Hawkeyes are led by 2021 NWCA Coach of the Year Tom Brands, who won his fourth NCAA championship this past spring and is in his 16th year as head coach.
USA Wrestling is the national governing body for wrestling in the United States, and is a member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the international wrestling federation United World Wrestling. USA Wrestling manages competition, training and other programs for athletes of all ages, from boys and girls in youth programs all the way up to the World Championships and Olympic Games.
The United States is one of the world powers in international wrestling, including placing second in the 2021 Senior World Championships in both men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling. USA Wrestling won nine medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, led by three individual Olympic champions.
Iran is one of the traditional powerhouses in men’s freestyle wrestling, with numerous World and Olympic champions in the sport. The friendly rivalry between the United States and Iran goes back decades. In 1998, a USA Wrestling international men’s freestyle team was the first U.S. sports team to compete in Iran since the Iranian revolution, a period which spanned almost two decades. The last time Iran competed in the United States was in 2016 at the World Cup in Los Angeles.
The USA and Iran have been competing in wrestling in both nations on a regular basis ever since. In 2003, Iran came to the United States along with Russia to compete in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, a key act of international friendship which helped wrestling retain its position on the Olympic program. USA vs. Iran wrestling matches traditionally draw large crowds in both nations.
Bout at the Ballpark will be the first event at Globe Life Field to feature an international competition. The two wrestling mats will be located between the areas of pitcher’s mound and second base and will be placed on raised stages to improve sightlines from the seating bowl. Floor seating will be added with the Globe Life Field capacity expected to be at least 27,000 for the matches.
Globe Life Field has been home of the Texas Rangers since March 2020.