Pat Miletich achieves historic first at Dan Gable Museum

By Kyle Klingman NWHOF Dan Gable Museum | June 01, 2011, 1:33 p.m. (ET)
WATERLOO, Iowa--The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum will honor its first Mixed Martial Artist. Pat Miletich, a former wrestler from Bettendorf, Iowa, will receive the inaugural George Tragos Award on Saturday, July 23.

The award is given to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in Mixed Martial Arts. Miletich receives the award based on his wrestling background, his successful tenure as a Mixed Martial Artist, and for his skills as a trainer.

"Pat Miletich is the perfect person to receive this inaugural award because of his diverse accomplishments" said Kyle Klingman, director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. "Pat's name was at the top of everyone's list to receive this award because he embodies wrestling through mixed martial arts and, most importantly, through training others to be successful."

Miletich will be honored at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend on July 22-23.

George Tragos, namesake of the award and the hall of fame, was one of the most feared submission wrestlers during the 1920s and 1930s. He wrestled and threw discus for the Greek Olympic team in 1924. Tragos was also an AAU freestyle champion in 1919 at 158 pounds for the Gary, Indiana, YMCA. He worked to revitalize the University of Missouri wrestling program in 1944 as well.

Dan Gable, namesake of the museum, will present Miletich his award. The presentation will take place at a banquet scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 at the Five Sullivan Brothers in Waterloo, Iowa.

Gable, named by Sports Illustrated as Iowa's top sports figure, won the 1972 Olympics without surrendering a point. As the head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa from 1977 through 1997, Gable led his team to 15 NCAA team titles and 21 Big Ten titles.

"I give him a lot of credit for the development of Mixed Martial Arts" said Gable. "He is one of the guys who had the foresight to believe that Mixed Martial Arts could be a thriving entity. When I think of Mixed Martial Arts, I think of Pat Miletich. He was a wrestler from Iowa who continues to push and believe in wrestling."

Miletich is one of the most successful Mixed Martial Artists and trainers in the world. He is the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems based out of Bettendorf, Iowa.

As a competitor Miletich compiled a 29-7-2 Mixed Martial Arts record from 1995 through 2008, becoming the first Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight champion at UFC 16 in 1998. He is also a color commentator for Strikeforce, which airs on CBS/Showtime. Miletich began wrestling at the age of five and wrestled for Bettendorf High School.

For additional information on induction weekend, or to order banquet tickets, contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or orders@wrestlingmuseum.org.
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