By Aaron Fontes, TCW State Editor
If you’re a fan of wrestling and enjoy watching it live from the comfort of your own home (or anywhere else for that matter), then you’ve got to love FloSports, or more to the point, FloWrestling. FloSports is a company started by brothers Martin and Mark Floreani that specializes in the streaming of live sporting events. The company was started in 2006 and its focus is covering sports outside the mainstream that rarely, if ever, get the coverage they deserve; sports such as running, swimming, gymnastics, Jiu-Jitsu, volleyball and of course wrestling. Since those early days back in 2006, the company has gone from just two guys driving around the country in a van, streaming a few sporting events to a company that now employs nearly 300 people and runs 25 web video channels, including FloWrestling. One of those busy employees happens to be none other than David Prado, a former California wrestler and 2x CIF State medalist from Freedom High School in the North Coast Section. David is currently a full-time employee with FloSports and his job includes the producing and directing of wrestling matches throughout the country. In fact, David and FloWrestling just had their busiest weekend in the history of the company, streaming 17 wrestling events from coast to coast in just 72 hrs. It’s a demanding job, but one that David truly enjoys.
David was born in Walnut Creek, CA and raised in the small town of Oakley, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born into a wrestling family, David was first introduced to the sport of wrestling at the age of 4 by his father Marty, who himself was a standout wrestler at Pleasant Hill High School (Marty earned a medal at the North Coast Section Wrestling Championships in 1978 and qualified for the prestigious CIF State Wrestling Tournament). After a few years of wrestling at the Delta Wrestling Club in Brentwood, CA, David decided that wrestling wasn’t for him and that he wanted to try other sports such as soccer and baseball. Although David had the full support from his family while playing soccer and baseball, he always noticed that his father Marty would have a special gleam in his eyes while watching David’s older brother Alex perform on the wrestling mats. Something clicked inside David and he decided to give wrestling another try in the 6th grade. He never looked back! Wrestling for longtime Freedom High School wrestling coaches John Parsons and Fidel Garcia, David put everything he had into wrestling and went on to become the most decorated wrestler in the history of Freedom High School, earning himself two North Coast Section Championships (4x medalist) and becoming a 2x CIF State Medalist (4th 2006, 2nd 2007). David also became arguably the most successful wrestler in the Prado family, surpassing his Uncles Danny and Larry Prado, who each placed in the top 3 at NCS (qualified to state), as well as his Uncle Tom Prado, who won two NCS Championships and was a runner-up at the 1987 California CIF State Wrestling Championships.
While wrestling his senior year at the nation’s toughest in-season high school tournament, Walsh Ironman Invitational in Ohio, David was recognized by the Arizona State Wrestling Staff and was asked to come join the Sun Devil program. David wrestled for 4 years at ASU mostly wrestling up a weight at 133 as ASU had one of the most remarkable wrestlers of all time in Anthony Robles at 125’s. Even so, David managed to wrestle his way into the PAC 12 tournament, but an injury his senior year derailed any chance he had of wrestling in NCAA tournament. But, more importantly, David came away from ASU with a bigger prize, a Bachelors degree in Film and Theatre.
After college, David worked in Los Angeles doing odd jobs in the film industry, but his heart truly wasn’t in to it, so he decided to quit the film business and focus on another career. Time went on and one afternoon David got a call from the PAC-12 network asking him if he’d like to join the network as a Production Assistant working NCAA sporting events, including wrestling. Although it would require an extreme pay cut, David jumped at the opportunity. David immediately fell in love with the job and the fact that he was now covering something he truly loves, wrestling. After a few years working successfully with the PAC-12 network, he was offered a job at the New York based CBS sports. David continued covering NCAA sports while working at CBS Sports, including wrestling, working primarily as a graphics producer. While in New York, David volunteered at the “Beat the Streets” events and even won the volunteer of the year award while working at the “Streets”. It was during this time that David saw a job description for an opening at FloSports. In the description, it stated that they were looking for an individual with film production experience AND an integral knowledge of the sport of wrestling. It was a no brainer for David; he applied for the job at the Austin, Texas based FloSports and he got it! David has been with FloSports for just over one year now and he spends most of his time producing and directing wrestling tournaments and dual meets all around the country. It’s a labor of love for David as he truly enjoys his life at Flo and he relishes in the idea that he has the opportunity of shaping and molding the way we view wrestling in the future. While speaking with him, David made it clear to me that it’s not about the money, David is happy, he enjoys his work and is passionate about giving back to the sport that gave so much to him.
In closing, it’s not too often one is provided the unique opportunity to work in a career that is also their life long passion. Ironically, David’s first try at wrestling at a very early age did not interest him enough to stick with it, but with time and another try, he was hooked. With hard work, dedication, and commitment to achieve at the elite level, David earned many accolades at the local, section, and state levels. To this day, he is the most decorated wrestler to come out of Freedom High School. Coming from a family that has long experienced success in the sport, wrestling is in his DNA and that is a big positive for the wrestling community at large. With just over a year experience with Flosports, David’s commitment to the betterment of the sport of wrestling is evident with the success we have witnessed more recently with the large-scale production of national level events across the country and around the world. During the Christmas Holiday, TCW had the opportunity to meet up with David and conduct a Q&A.
Q&A with Flo’s David Prado
TCW: I understand your brother Alex also works for Flo. When did he join and what are his duties with Flo? Do you see him much on the job?
PRADO: Alex got hired on back in April. He had just moved back to the Bay Area from Australia and I called and told him if he gets out to Austin in the next 5 days he’d have a job. So he and my dad hit the road to Texas.
He works in costumer service. So he deals with customers who call in and need help with their accounts and things of that nature. I travel so much that I might see him 2 times a month.
TCW: When it comes to the sport of wrestling, what or who was your biggest influence?
PRADO: In terms of wrestling, it was really a group effort. My Dad and uncles, Marty and Larry, as well as my high school Coaches Fidel Garcia and John Parsons. All 4 of these guys sacrificed so much for me to succeed. The all had a part in the growth of my wrestling abilities.
TCW: As a competitor, what is your favorite memory of wrestling?
PRADO: It’s 100% my win in the state semi-finals my senior year. I had lost to that kid in the finals of the Foothill Invitational earlier in the season. I was furious after that final and when my uncle came and found me, I started yelling, “That was garbage! I’m never going to lose to that kid again”. So to dominate him at state and make the finals at the same time was an awesome experience.
TCW: As you already know, California has one of the biggest State Tournaments in the Nation. Does Flo have any plans of covering the California CIF State Tournament in the future?
PRADO: That’s the rumor. It would definitely be awesome for me to direct the finals of the tournament that had such a big impact on my life and career.
TCW: How has the sport of wrestling affected your life, what life lessons have you learned from wrestling?
PRADO: The real question is how has it not. The fact that I’ve been able to design my career around the sport is awesome. I’ve dedicated close to 20 years of my life to wrestling, from competing to volunteer coaching to now broadcasting it.
I’ve learned so much from this sport. The two biggest things I’ve taken away from it are that you need to live in the moment. In many of my matches, I would always tell myself, “10 seconds is a really long time.” In short, this was the perfect way to tell myself not to panic…I have plenty of time to score. Secondly, there was no point in being afraid. You’re going to have to compete with whomever you step on the mat with, regardless, so there’s no point in stressing about it. As a result, I have been able to apply both of those reasoning skills to my mindset as an adult in my career and personal life and really have no complaints!