If you follow any of my social media, you know that my 15-year-old son, Callum, is participating in wrestling and jiu-jitsu, and is doing quite well in both. I can’t tell you how proud I am of all his accomplishments and trust me, there’s so much more to come from the next generation of Bispings.
Last month, I was on a plane to Dubai, and my wife texts me to let me know Callum has made it safely to Vegas for his wrestling tournament at Freak Show. She told me the event organizers had asked if I could put out a tweet to help promote it a little.
I know nothing about the amateur wrestling/youth wrestling circuit. I learned takedowns, takedown defense and things like that simply because I’m an MMA fighter, but the roots of wrestling—Freak Show—I know nothing about that.
So, as soon as I send out the tweet, my phone starts blowing up. Daniel Cormier, among others, is on my phone, ‘Oh my God! Your son is competing at Freak Show! That’s insane!’ He literally sent about 20 messages; ‘That’s the Number 1 youth wrestling tournament. There’s thousands of people there, wait until you see the pictures.’
I come to find out that the best wrestlers in the country are gathered up for this tournament. Callum was competing in the 18-year-old division, even though he’s only 15. He wanted the competition, because in his age group, he would just wipe the floor with them. So, he stepped up to the next division.
He’s only been wrestling for a year—just since he’s been in high school. Anyway, he went up against this wrestler who’s had 25 matches and won them all. Callum beat him in his first match, and unfortunately lost his next two on close points decisions to the guy that won the whole thing, so I’m very, very proud of my boy. His wrestling coaches at Canyon High School do a fine job with him—Coach O’Connor, in particular.
Just this past week, Callum took silver at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship in Long Beach. He represented Tinguinha Jiu-Jitsu and the Bisping name beautifully.
Now, we’ve started looking toward his future. The Olympics is something we’re seriously considering. I said to him, ‘You’ve got to have goals. You’ve got to figure out what you want to achieve through this journey.’
He’s loving the team aspect and all the friends he’s made. He’s going in to help coach the younger kids, and is quite involved with the team as a whole. It’s a great environment for him to be in, but I think you’ve got to have goals. First off, he wants to get a scholarship to college, which makes me happy that he wants to earn his way.
The Olympic conversation has come up, and even though as a wrestler, there’s not much money in it, but it’s really about the love of competing and being the best at your sport. He told me, ‘That’s a bit of a lofty goal, isn’t it, Dad?’
I told him, ‘You’ve got to set your sights high. That’s what I did, and here we are. If you don’t make the 2020 Olympics, we can always shoot for the 2024 games. That’s only eight years away, and you’ll only be 23.’
So, that’s the long game we’re looking at right now, and who knows what will happen after that. He says he wants to fight professionally, but I don’t really want him to go into that. Of course, my dad supported me, and if my boy wanted that above all else, I’d support him 100%.