Andrew Trace Leaves Wisconsin to Pursue Career, State's Welterweight Division Up For Grabs
If one thing is for certain on the local mixed martial arts scene it's that nothing is certain. Although his most recent performance wasn't his most memorable, Wisconsin fight fans had grown accustom to watching Andrew Trace compete over the past few years.
Fighting 11 times as an amateur over an 18-month span starting in 2009 – he won all 11 of his amateur bouts over the likes of Lenny Nelson, Tyler Hellenbrand, and Zach Browder – and then nine times in his first year as a professional, Trace will be taking a momentary leave of absence from Wisconsin's fight circuit in order to pursue a career as a firefighter and paramedic in Oklahoma City.
Serving as the most recent winner of Wisconsin's Fighter of the Year award, the Team Ruff Dawg welterweight has competed on some of the biggest statewide cards in recent memory including Madtown Throwdown (25, 26, 27, and 28), North American Fighting Championship "Unleashed", and Combat USA Wisconsin vs. Illinois.
"After much thought, I have decided to accept a Firefighter/Paramedic job in Oklahoma City," Trace wrote on Monday through Facebook. "This is a great opportunity for my career, different experiences, and much closer to Ashley. I appreciate all my friends and family who have supported me in all my various endeavors throughout my life; without you I would not be who I am.
"I plan to acquire more experience in my career, continue my martial arts training, and hopefully return to Wisconsin in a few years. As for my mma career, I appreciate everything Mr. DeLeon and my team has helped me accomplish. Also various promoters, sponsors and fans...Thank you. I never thought I could achieve the things I have and even though I would have liked to leave Wisconsin with a more flattering 'last' fight; I am still proud."
While obviously not thrilled with his quick loss to Bellator veteran Steve Carl over the weekend, the setback does not diminish any of the success that Trace accomplished since 2009. Making his own breaks along the way, Trace truly created his own success by defeating 18 of the 20 opponents that have ever stepped into the cage against him.
Still only 24 years of age there is still much left for Trace to accomplish in the sport of mixed martial arts if he choose to do so. It will be interesting to see how his career eventually plays out and where his next ventures within the sport lay.
In terms of the Wisconsin welterweight scene the loss of Trace may make it tougher for promoters around the area than one realizes. Easily the state's most competitive division before Trace's departure, the 170-pound class still features a plethora of talented fighters like Gerald Meerschaert, Lenny Nelson, Matt Gauthier, Isreal Lozano, and Mike Rhodes.
However, a number of these competitors are current or former teammates and will likely choose not to fight one another. Meerschaert, Lozano, and Rhodes all train at Roufusport, Gauthier and Meerschaert once trained together, and Nelson and Meerschaert have trained together in the past.
Possibly as valuable to the state's welterweight division for his choice of gym as much as his undeniable talent, Trace's name had been routinely mentioned as possible opponents for seemingly every single one of the aforementioned mixed martial artists.
Never backing down from a challenge Trace made a promoter's job a little easier (even if that isn't saying much) over the last few years. It's now time to see which welterweights will rise to the challenge and make up for his absence.