Sean Brady tapped Tanner Saraceno in the first round of their Cage Fury Fighting Championships 65 main event bout at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, May 20, 2016.
Brady snapped Saraceno’s three-fight win streak to capture the vacant CFFC welterweight strap.
Saraceno is mostly known for his time in the wrestling ring. He competed on season six of WWE’s “Tough Enough” reality TV show.
The 26-year-old missed out on being called the next WWE Superstar as Josh Breedl won the show. Saraceno decided to use his athletic ability in the cage.
Brady is alright with pro wrestlers joining MMA, but said the two sports are completely different.
“This is MMA, this ain’t wrestling,” Brady said. “This is real s@%$, this is not fake TV s@#%.”
Saraceno came into the fight on a three-fight win streak. His only other defeat came in his professional debut, a second-round TKO loss to Jared Gooden at National Fighting Championships 85 on March 25, 2016.
Although many critics tag him as a wrestler, he considers himself more of a mixed martial artist.
“A lot of pro fighters say ‘I want to make it to the UFC,’ that is not even a question in my head whether I make it to the UFC, Bellator or whatever,” Saraceno told NJ MMA news on Jan. 18, 2017. “I want to be the greatest fighter to ever step on this planet.”
With the recent defeat and a record sitting at (3-2), Saraceno has time before he ever enters the octagon.
Saraceno is still young in his MMA career, only competing as a pro since March 2016. Other pro wrestlers share a similar story.
Most recently, Phil Brooks, also known as CM Punk suffered a brutal submission defeat in his MMA debut. After taking damage throughout the opening round, Brooks tapped to a rear-naked choke against Mickey Gall at UFC 203 on Sept. 10, 2016.
In a similar statement to the one from Brady, Gall explained his opinion of Brooks at the UFC 203 post-fight press conference.
“He (Brooks) is still not a fighter yet,” Gall said. “Not to the degree others have, guys that have been through it, blood sweat and tears, know what it is like.”
This doesn’t mean pro wrestlers don’t belong, WWE superstar Bobby Lashley is riding a eight fight win streak. In all five of his Bellator MMA bouts, the 40-year-old finished each opponent.
A leading example in the transition from pro wrestler to MMA champion is Brock Lesnar. A year after turning to the cage, Lesnar finished Randy Couture in the second round to win the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 91 on Nov. 15, 2008.
He defended the strap twice before Cain Velasquez knocked out Lesnar at UFC 121 to take the title.
Although Brady put away Saraceno in the first round, he has high hopes for his opponent.
“He is a tough guy and a good fighter, I have nothing bad to say about Tanner (Saraceno),” Brady said.
By Connor Northrup