My High School--like many--had a wrestleing team, they competed in big meets with people comiing from all over the place, sometimes even from other states well before 93.
People have been going to college on wrestleing scholorships for 100 years plus.
Depending on what State you happen to be in, HS wrestling is nearly as big as Basketball.
HS wrestling even had its own movie--Vision Quest, back in the 80's.
So I would hardly call ground stuff "more prevelent."
A better term might be "more VISABLE."
So were kinda back to Oldman's orignal suggestion of social factors playing a major role in its larger visabilty.
Maybe the "surge" has just as much to do with more people sitting around watching TV than anything else.
Or it could equally be that Royce had a GREAT marketing idea--and don't kid yourself, that is precisely what it was.
Set up a tournament with the deck stacked as much in favor of the way he trained as possible.
NOT BAGGING ON HIM FOR IT--NOT IN THE SLIGHEST.
But he didn't glove up and try to fight professional boxers at THIER specialty either.
I have a lot of resepct for the Graices--and that they were shrewd marketers only makes me respect them MORE.
But lets face facts, if marketers can turn bottled water into a billion dollar business----the more so since depending on where you live your TAPWATER in probably just as good.
Its not much of step to convience people that "ground fighting" is where its at.
Not saying its not either----just trying to look at it from another angle for a bit.