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Meet Jiu-Jitsu Athlete Eric Ramsey, the First American to Compete for the Dubai World Wrestling Championship



Born in Cincinnati Ohio, Eric Ramsey is a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu & is also a performer at WrestleFest DXB in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A moment in history that inspired him to pursue wrestling was in 1998, when he was only 14 years old & attended the Brian Pillman Memorial show. It was there where Ramsey met wrestling legends Steve Austin and Chris Jericho. Two decades later, he attended the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax event in Tokyo, Japan, where he was able to see Cincinnati native, Jon Moxley, compete at the same event as Japanese pro wrestling legends Jushin Thunder Liger and Minoru Suzuki. It was then when Ramsey decided he was going to pursue wrestling in Dubai, where he resides & works as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach.

Making his official in-ring debut for WrestleFest DXB in March of 2022 in Dubai, Ramsey described it as a very surreal experience. With much acclaim, WrestleFest DXB completely changed the scene in the United Arab Emirates thanks to their cosmopolitan team of wrestlers, where Ramsey was the first to represent the United States on the card. Considering the event was Dubai’s first ever ticketed local wrestling event, the organization immediately received an official accreditation from the Dubai Sports Council. “I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling for most of my life and I always envisioned one day living out that experience and walking through the curtain. WrestleFestDXB made that possible,” he says. “WrestleFestDXB is great for pro wrestling in Dubai. A lot of people will show up to experience the excitement but I don’t really care if there’s anyone in the crowd. I’m not here for the cheers or the boos. I’ll be in that ring for one reason and that’s to tap out whoever thinks that it’s a good idea to step through those ropes,” adds Ramsey.

As a black belt, his character adds a different flair to the local wrestling scene. “My character, as with many pro wrestling characters is me just turned up to an extreme level. I bring 20 years of intense hard-hitting martial arts experience combined with a true passion for pro wrestling and genuine competition.” Ramsey says.

Given the intensity of the sport, athletes undergo intense training to stamina training as part of a serious workout routine for pro wrestling. “I train the same way I trained for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA competitions, on the mat. I always add in kettlebell training for strength endurance, Olympic weightlifting for explosive strength and some intense sprint work to maximize my lung capacity for hitting the ropes,” he says. For most athletes, as long as the greatest proportion of calories comes from nutritious lower-fat foods, there’s always room for their favorite but forbidden foods in their diet. After a long day of preparation, working out, and performing, Eric has a couple of go-to’s for dinner in the vibrant city of Dubai: “After an evening like that, you can’t go wrong with Maru Udon’s fresh made udon noodles or Chalco’s all you can eat tacos.”

Ramsey’s confidence was rewarded when he earned his place as the first American to compete for the Dubai World Wrestling Championship against Shaheen, Dubai’s inaugural World Wrestling Champion, who leads the way to grow the sport in the region alongside his peers. Leading up to the match, Ramsey trained like he would have for the biggest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. “I focused on my strength, cardio and technical in-ring training daily. I was full of nervous excitement. I’ve been training as a pro wrestler for less than 2 years & I wanted to make sure I could walk into the ring and perform for the audience. My goal at the end of the match was to show the team behind WrestleFest DXB that putting me in the championship position was the right move for the show,” Ramsey says.

Erupting in thunderous roars, the venue didn’t take long to explode with cheers & boos when the championship bout commenced between Ramsey & his counterpart. “To see the atmosphere with the fans that came out for the match tonight, it was just one of the most high-intensity matches that I’ve fought in a long time. It was pretty crazy,” says Shaheen. In previous shows, Ramsey has been building his confidence in the ring and growing his character with the WrestleFest DXB audience, who could see a serious competitor in him that boasts a dangerous array of wrestling & submission skills. Having only about 10 matches under his belt before the championship match, Ramsey says he could feel a different a different energy. “I could feel the audience anticipation and excitement at a different level then what I had felt in previous matches” Ramsey adds. “When I earned my spot to stand opposite of Shaheen in that title match, I wanted to make sure that win or lose I put on the best possible performance. I wanted to make sure that the fans knew I was a worthy adversary. I think this match proved that I can compete with the best pro wrestlers in Dubai,” he says in excitement.

When asked about his dreams & ambitions in wrestling, Eric says he’s here to challenge himself. “Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to wrestle a match back in my home town of Cincinnati, Ohio or maybe even a dream match in Tokyo, Japan,” he adds. His long-term goal is to be the first American to become the Dubai World Wrestling Champion and to continue training to achieve that. Given his journey so far, do not be surprised if you see Ramsey achieve that feat anytime soon.

To watch the championship match between Ramsey and Shaheen, click here. Follow Ramsey on Instagram to join him on his journey.

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