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Interview: Anthony Gutierrez Balancing MMA Career With Pro Wrestling

Anthony Gutierrez has found something else to help express his desire to compete.

Pro wrestling.

Gutierrez, a former competitor on The Ultimate Fighter with an 8-3 MMA record, signed a deal with the National Wrasslin League recently. The promotion is based out of Kansas City, where “Sharkbait” also trains.

I was able to catch up with the 27-year-old to talk about his new career and where his MMA future is at. Also, Gutierrez discussed the ever-growing similarities between the two sports.

Do you see yourself balancing wrestling and MMA or focusing on one when the best opportunity presents itself?

AG: Right now my main focus is pro wrestling. I am wrestling 6-to-8 times per month for the NWL. This is taking up a lot of my time. My last MMA fight was in May of this year. I plan on getting one more in by the end of this year. No, I am not done with MMA, I have a lot more to accomplish in MMA.

What sparked the decision to get into pro wrestling?

AG: It’s an art form I’ve always had a lot of respect for. Two of my best friends (The Royal Blood) were finding a lot of success early in their careers. I figured with my combat sports background and passion for pro wrestling that I too could find success. I started training with them full time. Nine months later I was offered a full time salary with benefits from NWLeague.com.

Was it always something you watched growing up and just felt it was a natural fit with your past?

AG: I was a huge fan of The Hardy Boys and The Rock growing up as a kid. I played all the video games and rented all the DVDs. With my MMA background I thought I would fit in nicely. The physicality in pro wrestling is something people seem to overlook. I knew how tough and rough this industry was going to be. MMA gave me the confidence to pursue this at a high level for sure.

Who would you say you pattern yourself after in terms of your wresting style?

AG: I have a “strong style” when it comes to pro wrestling. I use hard hitting strikes and submissions. My favorite wrestler to watch currently is Finn Balor so I tend to steal his moves from time to time.

Do you feel with all the “need” for being outspoken and such in MMA that the like between the two sports is closer than ever?

AG: MMA and pro wrestling from a business stand point have a lot of similarities. The fight game is the entertainment business. Without tickets being sold there is no show and no money for the talent. So guys have taken an aggressive approach in MMA to sell themselves to the public to up their ticket sales. This is the same model pro wrestling uses.