ProctorvilleToughman moves on

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006

Wrestling coach to compete in world championship

By Kirsten Stanley/The Ironton Tribune

PROCTORVILLE — Brian Longstreet always enjoys a good fight. From cage matches to ju jitzsu, the former U.S. Army paratrooper says he loves to use his quick moves to battle opponents.

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Longstreet, a brick mason and assistant wrestling coach at Fairland Middle School, will take his love of combat to Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut for the World Toughman Championship Nov. 3-4.

Longstreet won the local Toughman competition in Logan, W.Va., late last year then applied to be considered for the world championship.

The Proctorville resident said the grueling selection process included an intensive physical exam, background check and a psychiatric evaluation. Longstreet was also required to write and essay of sorts about why he wanted to be a part of the competition and why he thought he could win the title.

The Toughman competition includes three one-minute rounds with a one-minute rest period. Points are awarded for aggression, power, defensive strategies and the number of hits landed. The events have been outlawed in six states and have come under fire because of the 15 deaths that have reportedly resulted from the fierce fighting associated with the bouts.

At 39, Longstreet will be the oldest competitor in the light heavyweight field of 20, which includes a man from Portsmouth and three others from Ohio. The next oldest competitor is 31 years old, according to Longstreet.

Although he knows he will be the senior fighter, Longstreet said he does not worry that much about it. He said he has “pretty good movement” and is “very difficult to hit,” both skills that give him an edge over his younger counterparts. Longstreet’s strong faith in God has also given him the strength to compete, he said, and has given him little, if any, fear of his opponents.

“This is a big opportunity for me. I’m not getting any younger, you know,” said the father of two sons and a daughter. “I knew if I was going to do it, it would have to be now. I think I have a pretty good shot.”

Money is also a major reason for his quest for the Toughman title, he said; the distinction comes with a $20,000 purse.

“I’m a brickmason, I don’t make that much money,” Longstreet said. “We’re barely making ends meet. We could really use the money.”

He will be taking his kids, as well as his wife of 19 years, Julie, to the competition with him. Their church, Rome Church of Christ, is allowing them to use one of its vans for their trip. Because of the expenses that go along with it, Longstreet is hoping to garner financial support from the community.

He is looking for sponsors to help him pay his way.

Longstreet’s fights at the championship are scheduled to be aired on either the FX Network or Spike TV.