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Mike 'Mad Dog" Matlock Passes on 8/1/2020

Author, Rusty Davidson

The USA Wrestling community received and shared word on Tuesday, 8/1/2020 of the passing of Mike Matlock, 72, a longtime volunteer in the USA Wrestling family.
Matlock was found early Tuesday morning in his home in New Bern, N.C. Reports indicate he passed peacefully. Details are pending notification of next of kin.
Mike Matlock was known to many in the wrestling world as “Mad Dog.” “The Dog” wore the nickname affectionately. He was apt to greet students and friends with a friendly “Woof.”
Matlock was known globally as a first category referee. Officiating under the banners of USA Wrestling and its predecessors, along with the current United World Wrestling, Matlock was known as a Teacher of his fellow officials. Many referees mentored by “The Dog” went on to represent several countries at the highest levels.
Matlock most recently served as a non-voting Honorary Board member for North Carolina USA Wrestling. The Board of North Carolina USA Wrestling honored him recently by naming North Carolina’s annual Official of the Year Award as the Mike “Mad Dog” Matlock Award.
“Mad Dog” also contributed as a high school and club coach, mentoring youth in Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina over the last 50 years. Countless youngsters, across multiple generations, credit Matlock for helping them make greater contributions in life through wrestling.
We all know that ‘Wrestling Makes the World Small.’ The quick flow of information and emotions regarding the passing of one of our great grassroots contributors is solid evidence of his impact within the wrestling family. 
For those that knew ‘The Dog,’ please share a story and a smile with those that matter. We lost a good one. “Woof!”

Nikenson Bazelas

Nikenson (Nik) Bazelais passed away on July 7th, 2020, after a five year battle with Cancer and a mild case of COVID-19 at NYU Langone Hospital. He was only 49 years old and left behind his wife, Libny and daughter Rachél, two sisters Seurette and Nancy, and brother Gabriel. Nik was a dear friend and colleague to many of us. He was a devoted father, a great friend, a loving brother, and a newlywed beloved husband.

"Big AL" Williams

Albert Peter Williams Jr. age 63, of Riverdale passed away on April 7, 2020. Albert was a very strong and sturdy individual. He dedicated over 40 years of his life to the sport of youth and high school wrestling. Albert loved the Lord and served him faithfully. Beloved husband of Vickie Williams (nee Spilotro), loving son of Isabel (late Albert) Williams.  Services are private. A Celebration of life service will be announced and held at a later date. Albert will be dearly missed by family and friends. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Al Williams’ memory can be made to USA Wrestling, the national governing body of the sport which Al loved. To make a memorial donation, please visit


"Big Al" Williams

Don Sonderoth

Scott Sonderoth has just informed the USWOA about the passing of his Dad, Don. As you all know he was instrumental in bringing the AAU and the USWF together when they became one organization. He was a good leader, good friend and as honest of a  person that you could meet. He always told it like it is and pulled no punches. He passed in his sleep on Friday 5/3/19 with his family surrounding him.
Below is the information about the services on Friday.



Sympathy Cards and Memorials should be sent to Mr. Rod Cozzetto, 709 Crystal Lane, Pueblo Co 81006

Mo Babi, from Colorado, passed away after recent struggles with health issues. Mo has been involved with USA Wrestling for many years as a State leader and Mat Official. He served multiple times as the State Director for Colorado and worked for many years as a Mat Official at many Regional and National events. Mo was instrumental in the development of the concepts of Dual competitions. Mo loved the Cadet Duals and started the first Dual event on two mats at a local high school. From that auspicious start it quickly grew to a National level event. The original idea was to get many matches in a short duration competition so younger Cadets could more quickly improve their wrestling skills. At the same time, Mo wanted the Cadet Duals to serve as a training ground for lesser experienced Mat Officials. The original participating States liked the concept and started sending their best Cadets but also demanded the best possible Mat Officials. The Cadet Duals became a National level event; Junior Duals and Schoolboy Duals soon followed suit. Mo’s wife, Pat, is an accomplished pairer and one of their sons, Jason, is an international level Mat Official. Mo’s demise will leave a huge void for all of his many friends. Funeral arrangements will be posted when completed by Mo’s family.

Mo Babi, CO

Tom Clark and his son Hayden

Tom Clark, USWOA Vice President Passes

Thomas G. Clark, 58, of Fishers, a 2008 Olympic referee and longtime leader within USA Wrestling, passed away on Friday, March 10, 2017 at home. 

Abram Ostrovskiy passed away Monday, April 11th, 2016

We are sad to inform you that the USWOA has lost a great official and friend.  Abram Ostrovskiy passed away Monday, April 11th, 2016.  Abram was a great friend to all of us and we are all saddened by his passing.  Abram experienced more in his lifetime than any of us can imagine and yet he was always available to help.  Please take a few moments to reflect on the life and friendship of Abram Ostrovskiy.  Rest in Peace Abram.

Former USWOA official Pat Lovell passes.

Former Olympic wrestler, coach Pat Lovell dies at 81

“He never grew up,” said Duane Morgan, commissioner of the Central Coast Section and a former wrestling official with Lovell. “He saw happiness in everything. He loved the kids. What a great life that is.”

Link to the Obituary


David Pelsang JR

Pending arrangements for David Pelsang Jr.

Viewing for Family and Friends
Friday June 8  6-8pm
Saturday June 9 11am-1pm
Jones Funeral Home
Jacksonville NC
Funeral/Celebration of Life
6:30pm Monday @ 
Blue Creek Baptist Church 
SR 53
Jacksonville NC
More information on David's arrangements and Memorial will follow:

Charlie Bates, JR

Longtime Oklahoma pairing official Charlie Bates passes.

June 8, 1947- August 4, 2017

Jack Stanbro, NY Passes

Jack was longtime pairing official and contributor to USAW and the USWOA.

Alice Riggle

April 22, 2017 

Resided in Jackson, MI

Long time Pairing Official Alice Riggle of Jackson, MI and formerly of Shelby, passed away April, 22, 2017 in Jackson. She was the widow of Richard "Dick" Riggle.

Arrangements are pending, but will be announced on Monday, April 24th.


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