It was interesting to hear UFC play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg describe Brandon Vera as an “Olympic candidate” in wrestling during the broadcast of UFC 164. Especially considering that Vera’s actual chances of making the Olympics were approximately the same as mine. BloodyElbow has a breakdown of Goldberg’s Vera Olympics fish getting bigger every time he tells the tale:
Brandon Vera did not qualify for the 2000 Olympic Team Trials in Greco-Roman wrestling. He could have qualified by winning the U.S. Armed Forces Championships, winning one of five regional qualifiers, or placing top eight at the U.S. Senior Greco National Championships (he did not meet the criteria to qualify by petition). His name does not appear in the results for the 2000 Armed Forces Championships, nor in any of the regional qualifiers, and in the 2000 Senior National Championships, he injury defaulted out of the tournament without winning a single match.
Even without his injury, Vera almost certainly would not have qualified for the 2000 Olympic Team Trials. In three years, from 1998 though 2000, wrestling on the Senior Greco circuit, Vera never placed at a Senior National Championships, never appeared at a World Team Trials and I can find no results which would suggest that he was competitive with contemporaries who actually ought to be considered “Olympic candidates”. On the other hand, I can find a number of instances where Vera received lopsided trouncings at the hands of America’s truly elite Greco wrestlers. Even Vera’s best result, his sixth place finish at the 1998 University Nationals, only illustrates his distance from realistic Olympic consideration; none of the five wrestlers who placed in front of him went on to even qualify for the 2000 Olympic Team Trials.
BloodyElbow concludes by calling the description of Vera as a legitimate Olympic candidate reckless and absurd. The long and short of all of this is that the story of Vera’s Olympic candidacy is not and never was anything more than a steaming pile of horse poop.
Now I feel just how I felt about my parents because they said pot was bad: I just can’t trust a word Goldberg says. I now don’t know what to believe about the accolades given to our noble UFC athletes. In addition to wondering whether Matt Lindland’s silver medal was actually something he got from a cereal box, I am now beginning to question Goldberg’s persistent characterization of every dark-complexioned athlete as “Explosive” and his description of their dick sizes as “virtually identical.” I guess now we’ll never know the actual measurements.