soulja boy marco polo former Penn State wrestling champion Ed Ruth returns to his roots before Friday’s Bellator 186
Just days away from returning to Penn State, where he won three wrestling national titles, as a featured fighter on Saturday’s Bellator 186 card, he stepped forward and started flicking at the glass with his fingers.
“What happened here,” he asked his father, Eddie Ruth.
When Edward Lee Ruth shows up to fight UFC veteran Chris Dempsey at the Bryce Jordan Center Friday night there probably won’t be much of a grin, though.
He’s polite, well spoken . downright personable, but when the cage door locks behind him, things change.
And all sorts of violence tends to ensue.
“I know one thing,” Eddie Ruth said. “If he gets on top of a fella, I sure do feel sorrow for him.”
That’s the wrestling pedigree, but, despite all his mat accolades, what has made Ruth an eye opener in the sport is the way he has taken to striking.
When the 5 foot 10, 185 pounder uncoils his lean, muscular frame and connects with a punch, the guys on the other end tend to fall down.
He’s fought three times professionally.
Only one fight has made it into the second round.
And his success helped prompt Bellator to come to Penn State, plaster his face, alongside fellow Harrisburg native and former Nittany Lions’ wrestling national champion Phil Davis, all over posters promoting Friday’s fight.
But you wouldn’t know it inside the warehouse with the shattered window on Cameron Street or the store Eddie’s Furniture and Mattresses attached to it.
Eddie Ruth bought the place he said it was a storage facility at the time in the late 90s, tore it up, and built a sprawling store filled with chairs, couches, beds,
even dress clothes.
That, Ed Ruth said, kept him busy.
There wasn’t much time for things like throwing rocks because, he said, his father had him toting mattresses and other furniture, daily.
He said that’s what helped him build the foundation of strength that has made him the physical specimen he is today.
“When I was 17, you could come in the store, and I was walking around with a couch on my back,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to do this all the time.’ I’d rather just go in a room and wrestle for a couple hours.
“When I’d come home, for like Christmas break and stuff, my dad would put me to work. And that was not easy. So, when I went back and started wrestling, that was like a break.”
The work was hard, but Ruth couldn’t help but smile as he stopped near the entrance of the store and surveyed the place.
He fell through a dumbwaiter once, dropping from the first to second story, of the building.
He survived, and, later, ran over his sister’s foot with a forklift back in the warehouse.
Each story was told while pausing to laugh out loud.
His parents, and the place, Ruth said, made him what he is today a wrestling and mixed martial arts monster who, may just be on the verge of superstardom.