The Eagle Doesn’t Soar

The Eagle Doesn’t Soar

 

The story of the Schultz Brothers is one of greatness, nothing else can be said about what they were able to achieve between them. They were simply wrestling perfection in its truest form. Mark Schultz is the more aggressive of the two in his style of wrestling, being one to use his physical gifts to aid him in his matches along with his impeccable timing on his shoots and counters. Dave Schultz being one of the least physically intimidating wrestlers, even to this day in the sport’s history. Dave used his inside out knowledge and mastery of grappling to beat his opponents, at his peak, there were very few men that could match Dave in terms of wrestling knowledge. Both men achieved NCAA titles, Dave achieving this incredible feat once and Mark achieving it 3 times, both World Champions and Olympic Gold Medallists, the only brothers in history to have achieved this feat, Ed and Lou Banach managed to win NCAA Championships and Olympic Gold Medals, even winning the Golds at the same Olympic Games as the Schultz Brothers.

(Mark and Dave Schultz with their Olympic Gold Medals won in 1984)

Mark’s comeback performance at the 1984 Olympic Games was nothing short of incredible, after being disqualified early in the tournament in the USA Vs. Turkey round, Mark found himself countering Turkey’s Resit Karabacak with a move now popularly known in Submission Grappling as the Kimura, by dropping his weight and maintaining the Kimura lock he drove the Turk’s head into the mat, snapping his arm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otSAWYs7Qtw). After being disqualified Mark was allowed to continue in the tournament and went onto win Olympic Gold along with his brother Dave. 

Life was good, however, there was an elephant in the room and that was the issue of Mark being the younger brother of Dave Schultz, who was widely more popular and loved by people, this caused Mark to feel isolated and excluded. His landline rings, he answers and before he knows it he is being flown out first class to Pennsylvania to meet with John E. du Pont. During this meeting it was revealed that du Pont was wanting to have Mark live with him in a luxury chalet that was located on his Foxcatcher Farm, du Pont being a multimillionaire had the funding available to give Mark Schultz living accommodation for free but also to pay him a high earning salary to train, this would continue with expansion with both men becoming very good friends. Under the training at Foxcatcher with Mark being able to choose a variety of teammates to come train with him on the farm they were living in luxury as well training in one of the best-equipped training facilities for amateur wrestling in the World.  With this financial backing, Mark found himself winning Gold at the 1987 World Championships. From there on, things started to deteriorate.

Heavy Cocaine usage became regular between the two, with du Pont dragging Mark into the gutters by including his star athlete in taking the illegal substance. Mark becoming more laissez-faire in his training was giving his teammates time off, catching up by doing double training sessions in the late evening. Outraged by actions like this due to his position of being the decision-maker at Foxcatcher, du Pont tested his financial stranglehold on Schultz. Mark did nothing. This was monumental to the madness of du Pont, due to him having the local police using his land for target practice and using Foxcatcher for hunting grounds, the police when off duty was kissing du Pont’s ass to keep themselves in the luxurious life that only a multimillionaire could provide, their actions towards du Pont were servile at best. The relationship between the two severely deteriorated to the point that Mark could no longer live there. Over this time du Pont was able to purchase Dave Schultz talents, during a meeting Dave convinced du Pont to let Mark leave but still pay him his full salary and if he was to deny this then Dave would also leave, which would collapse Foxcatcher Wrestling, du Pont agreed under the condition that he was allowed to be in Mark’s corner for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Mark agreed to these terms.

Unsurprisingly Mark Schultz did not medal, battling as many demons as he had been made this obvious that he would not be performing at his peak condition. After the tournament, he retired from amateur freestyle wrestling. During Mark’s retirement he managed found a job coaching wrestling, during this time in 1993 he was met on the mats by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu powerhouse Rickson Gracie, the grappling match supposedly went on for over 45 minutes with Schultz controlling Gracie throughout the contest but his own lack of awareness of finishing on the ground meant he was able to control but not finish, after a lot of time had passed he found himself locked into a submission by Rickson, costing Schultz the match. Schultz eventually started training BJJ under BJJ Black Belt Pedro Sauer, who became something of a celebrity in the fighting community for his victory over the hulking ‘Mr. Utah’ Lance Bachelor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDdqJIk3WOg) and actually earned his black belt under Sauer in 2016. Schultz fought at UFC 9 in May 1996 against Gary Goodridge, easily controlling the fight and winning via (T)KO, this is even more impressive when considering what had just happened to Mark in January of that year.

Since Mark’s departure from the Foxcatcher Farm, to say du Pont was acting insane would be an understatement. A strong bond with Bulgarian wrestler Valentin Yordanov saw du Pont pretend that he himself was of Bulgarian. He cornered Dan Chaid in the weight room with a handgun and when Chaid managed to calm du Pont he informed the police, with the police turning a blind eye and saying that he was just eccentric. Kurt Angle heard John du Pont threaten to shoot him if he did not “get out of the walls.”  He fired Kevin Jackson and other African American wrestlers as well as banning anything to do with the colour black n the Foxcatcher premises. Dave Schultz was also thought to have been hiding in his walls, his paranoia was so intense that he had the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conduct a thorough investigation to make sure that Dave Schultz wasn’t hiding in his walls or had secret tunnels on Foxcatcher. John’s paranoia reached an all-time high when he approached Dave Schultz house his a handgun, demanding entry to find Dan Chaid, Dave complied but told him that he was acting irrational and Dan was only there briefly and left. John, being highly intoxicated during this time fell and bashed his head, he claimed Chaid assaulted him and contacted the police. Dave had to comply with truth and informed the police that du Pont had actually fallen. This made du Pont turn on Dave and a few days later John du Pont arrived at Dave Schultz home on Foxcatcher Farms and shot and killed one of the greatest wrestlers in history.

In memory of Dave Schultz, rest in peace.

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