SDSU alum Michaud kicks and punches to the top

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BY SHAYNE GOTTLOB

Former SDSU wrestler David Michaud is about to step on to one of television’s most popular reality shows, “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX, this Friday, Sept. 14th at 8 p.m.

Michaud is a mixed martial arts fighter from Pine Ridge. Born and raised on the reservation, Michaud was always involved in athletics year-round, no matter what the sport. He was a rare five-sport athlete.  Football and wrestling were the sports he excelled in especially, but on top of that, he also succeeded in baseball, track and fighting. After finishing his college athletic career, Michaud focused solely on developing his mixed martial arts style of fighting to land himself in the spotlight.

In the opening show, each contestant will compete in an elimination fight. The 16 winners in the elimination round, or “Fight In,” will earn their way into The Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas and cameras will follow their every move from there.

Perhaps one of the most violent sports ever established, mixed martial arts and its largest promotion company, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has gradually and effectively worked its way from what once appeared to be senseless, unorganized street brawling into an internationally acclaimed sport. Behind UFC President Dana White, the sport doesn’t hold back.

The general opinion is that some of the strongest, biggest, toughest and meanest dudes play the sport—the kind of guys that generally enjoy violence and look to bring no mercy to their opponents.

However, this is not always the case, and it certainly isn’t for Michaud, aka “Bulldawg.” Michaud sees the opportunity as an honor, and there may not be a more rewarding honor than to represent one’s family, friends, hometown, and state on the international level. But before Michaud rose to that level, he was just a normal kid striving to do his best. The son of a wrestling coach, Michaud was always disciplined and pushed to his limits in every sport he participated in. It wasn’t easy to dedicate every ounce of energy and passion into playing five sports a year.

Michaud excelled not only in sports, but frequently presented himself both in sports and in public with the honor of his culture.

“I have always been around people who are cultural and did cultural things, so it was always in my mind about my people and where I’m from,” Michaud said. “It is really important that I try to present myself well and make people from where I’m from proud.”

One of David’s professors at SDSU, Frank Klock, recalls the first time he saw David openly express his cultural heritage.

“I first saw him on YouTube, and he was at a fight, and he just kicked the holy heck out of this poor kid,” Klock said. “Then at the end, what’s he do? He helps the kid up and bows to him. That’s David.”

Klock, who has worked very closely with David, has nothing but the highest regards for the fighter.

“He’s a very talented young man who is extremely self-driven,” Klock said. “He’s one of those students that treated everyone with respect, and you really can’t engrain that into a student.”

Despite all of Michaud’s positive experiences, life hasn’t always dealt him the easiest hand. He admits that his toughest challenge was going from high school to college at SDSU. Along with being a football player for one year and a wrestler for three years, making time for a job and managing time was challenging along with the rest of the day’s obstacles. Injuries also limited him from pursuing his athletic dreams and hindered his academic ability.

“(College) has got its good and bad, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Michaud said.

After David decided to quit wrestling, he was able to focus his time and energy on training to become the fighter that he is today, eventually finding his way to the national stage. Michaud still remembers the phone call he received telling him that he had been chosen as a contestant for “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“It was exciting to know that they thought enough of me where they would give me a shot to be on UFC to fight in the biggest fighting organization in the world,” Michaud said. “It’s what everybody who is a pro fighter dreams of.”

Michaud is not only living his own dreams, but he is helping others fulfill their dreams as well. To some spectators, Michaud is just a fighter, but to those who know him personally, he is a tremendous role model and a symbol of hope that many people look up to and believe in.

“It feels great to know that so many people believe in me and have such high expectations for me,” Michaud said. “To think that I’ve impacted them in any way is just more than I can explain.”

Though few young men have received as much respect and honor as Michaud has, seemingly no one has a negative comment to make about him. On the contrary, the only kind of comments that Michaud seems to receive are positive ones.

“It’s easy to say good things about good people, and he is one of them,” Klock said.