Nick Catone MMA News

Nick Catone vs. Chris Camozzi set for UFC on FX 4

by Jason Kelly on March 20, 2012 8:11:02 PM in FeaturesFighter Features  |   No Comments »

Nick Catone (photo courtesy of Sherdog)

Bob Badders confirmed for that Chris Camozzi and Nick Catone are set to meet at UFC on FX 4 on June 22 at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

Camozzi (16-5) has gone 1-1 since his return to the UFC, most recently defeating Dustin Jacoby via guillotine-choke at UFC on Fox 2.  The Ultimate Fight 11 participant was released from the UFC in January 2011, following a loss to Kyle Noke.  Camozzi beat Joey Villaseñor in a bout outside the Octagon, but was welcomed back in October of last year and lost to Francis Carmont at UFC 137.

Catone’s (9-2) last outing had him defeat Constantinos Philippou at UFC 128 in a catch-weight bout of 195 pounds, and he is currently riding a two-fight win streak.  Catone was expected to face Aaron Simpson at UFC 136, but withdrew from the bout due to a torn achilles tendon.  Since joining the UFC in 2009, Catone was compiled a winning record of 3-2.

Latest News


Nick Catone vs. Aaron Simpson added to October's

 UFC 136 event

by Staff on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm ET

A middleweight scrap between two fighters boasting modest win streaks will take place at UFC 136.

UFC officials today announced that Nick Catone (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) will face Aaron Simpson (10-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at the event.

Featuring a pair of title fights in the evening's headlining contests, UFC 136 takes place Oct. 8 at Houston's Toyota Center.

The evening's main card airs on pay-per-view. Catone vs. Simpson is expected to take place on the evening's preliminary card.

Simpson looks to build on the strength of back-to-back victories over Brad Tavares and Mario Miranda. After suffering consecutive losses to Mark Munoz and Chris Leben, Simpson has gone back to his wrestling roots for the past two contests and netted decision victories in both outings.

Meanwhile, Catone also boast two-straight decision wins after besting Constantinos Philippou and Jesse Forbes in consecutive outings. The run was also launched on the back of a pair of defeats after falling short to Munoz and Tim Credeur.

Pictures From NIck's UFC Signing at the 

Jacob Javit Center in 

NY at the Dub Show Tour 

The next stop of the 2011 DUB Show Tour is New York City at the 2011 New York International Auto Show! DUB will be taking over part of the Jacob Javits Center with some of the hottest custom cars, trucks, suvs & motorcycles you’ll ever see! The fun begins today and runs through May 1st.

There will even be special appearances from rapper Jadakiss and UFC Fighter Nick Catone! Jadakiss will be signing today @ 5pm and Nick Catone will be at the UFC Booth on Saturday, signing from 1pm to 3pm. Get your tickets now!

Brick's Catone wins via unanimous decision

10:22 AM, Mar. 20, 2011  |  

Nick Catone scored a unanimous decision over Costantinos Philippou at UFC 128 on Saturday night in Newark.
Nick Catone scored a unanimous decision over Costantinos Philippou at UFC 128 on Saturday night in Newark. / STAFF PHOTO: PETER ACKERMAN

Written by

NEWARK — Brick Township's Nick Catone gave New Jersey mixed martial arts fans at the Prudential Center something to cheer about Saturday as he was victorious in the second bout of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's return to the Garden State.

"The Jersey Devil,' who entered the arena to the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil,' won via unanimous decision over Long Island's Costa Philippou in a preliminary bout at UFC 128.

After edging out two competitive rounds to start the fight, the former Brick Memorial and Rider University wrestling standout wasted no time in the third round, flattening Philippou with a takedown. He went on to land heavy elbows and strikes on the ground en route to 30-27 scores on all three judges' scorecards.

The Garden State crowd was not as pleased with a judges' decision later in the night when Point Boro graduate Kurt Pellegrino lost via split decision to Gleison Tibau.

"Batman' fell despite a dominant second round in which Pellegrino rocked Tibau with a right hook and followed it up with a crushing slam that prompted a "Let's Go Kurt" chant from the crowd at "The Rock.'

But Tibau began to connect with jabs in the third and Pellegrino, giving up height and weight, was unable to take the fight to the ground. Instead, it was Tibau who put Pellegrino on his back several times in the decisive round that all judges gave to Tibau.

Overall, two judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Tibau, while one gave the nod to the two-time state wrestling finalist, much to the dismay of the live crowd, which booed the decision.

It was followed by another tough decision for a home state fighter. Bordentown's Ricardo Almeida suffered a loss via unanimous decision in his bout with Mike Pyle.

Almeida struggled with keeping the fight on the ground, often settling for the clinch against the cage. In the second round, he did score the double-leg with 45 seconds remaining and finished the round in Pyle's guard. In the end, it was the only round judges gave him in a 29-28 loss for the "Big Dog.'

In the first bout of the night, Erik Koch connected with a nasty counter right hook to knock out Raphael Assuncao at 2:32 of Round 1. Also, Joseph Benavidez defeated Ian Loveland via unanimous decision.

Nick Catone's return to Octagon now 

against unfamiliar foe

8:37 PM, Mar. 14, 2011  |  
Written by

Nick Catone thought he knew who he would fight this weekend.

In fact, the former Brick Memorial and Rider University wrestling standout thought he knew his opponent really well. He was scheduled to face fellow New Jersey mixed martial artist Dan Miller when the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday.

But a weekend shakeup to the card has left Catone with a new opponent, Costantinos Philippou, in an 195-pound, catch-weight bout at UFC 128. Preliminary fights, including Catone's, begin at 7 p.m. at "The Rock," with the main card going live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m.

It will be Catone's first time back in the Octagon in more than one year, after being sidelined by shoulder and back injuries.

But "The Jersey Devil" didn't simply rest up during his time away. He took the opportunity to open his own MMA school.

Nick Catone Mixed Martial Arts opened last September in the Laurel Shopping Center in his hometown of Brick and offers classes in everything from wrestling and jiu-jitsu to muay-Thai and cardio kickboxing.

"I was a little banged up and I used that time to get (the school) going," he said. "We're trying to get everything under one roof and it's been pretty successful so far."

The academy is a Ricardo Almeida/Renzo Gracie affiliate school. Almeida, a fellow Garden State fighter who runs his own school in Hamilton, will also be on the UFC 128 card, fighting Mike Pyle in a bout streamed at at 8 p.m.

For Catone (8-2), the school not only provides him with his own training facilities during his fight career, but also a career avenue for his post-fight life.

And considering he hasn't fought in his home state since his days with Ring of Combat in Atlantic City in 2008, the school is a welcome addition to his pre-fight routine.

"I'll be training at my school all week instead of sitting in a hotel room for five days," Catone said. "I used to have good following down at the Ring of Combat and I have close to 200 people coming (to UFC 128) from my school alone, so I'll have good fan support at this fight as well.

"It will be nice for my students and family to come and watch because it's tough for people to get out to Portland and some of the other places I've fought. Everyone can enjoy the night and hopefully I can put on a good performance, get my arm raised and enjoy it with them."

Steve Feitl:

Win UFC Tickets, Meet Fighter at FanFest
Meet & Greet with Nick Catone, fighting on UFC 128 undercard
02/25/2011 8:50 AM ET
UFC fighter Nick Catone of Brick will sign autographs at FanFest '11
UFC fighter Nick Catone of Brick will sign autographs at FanFest '11 
LAKEWOOD, NJ - Nick "The Jersey Devil" Catone of the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be at BlueClaws FanFest on Saturday, March 12th signing autographs from 2 pm - 3 pm. Plus, those at Fanfest can win two FREE tickets to see UFC® 128: SHOGUN vs. JONES on March 19th at Prudential Center in Newark. Catone will draw the winner's name at 3 pm.

Catone, who runs a studio in Brick and wrestled at Brick Memorial High School, is a graduate of Rider University. He is training for his next fight at UFC 128 against fellow New Jersey native Dan Miller.

The main event at UFC 128 is Mauricio "Shogun" Rua against Jon Jones for the World Light Heavyweight Championship.

Catone made the transition to Mixed Martial Arts when he graduated college in 2005. He holds a Brown Belt in Brazailian Jiu-Jitsu, and comes into the bout against Dan Miller with an 8-2 record in his young UFC career.

BlueClaws FanFest, which runs from 11 am - 4 pm, is a FREE event that marks the beginning of individual game ticket sales for the 2011 BlueClaws season.

The event will include a full day of FREE fun at the ballpark. In addition to individual game tickets going on sale for the first time, each reserve seat will be $1 off the regular price and will sell for just $9 (adult) or $6 (jr/sr).

FanFest includes free food and drinks and behind-the-scenes tours of the ballpark. Also, there will be a sale in the ClawsCove, two-for-one tickets in Dr. Bernard's Kids Zone, and fans can take pictures with the team's championship trophies. FanFest is present by Viridian Energy and The Garden State Film Festival.

UFC® 128: SHOGUN vs. JONES is at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 19th.Click here for more information. Tickets for UFC 128 are on sale now at all Ticketmaster locations,, or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.

The Lakewood BlueClaws open the 2011 season on Thursday, April 7th at FirstEnergy Park against the Kannapolis Intimidators. That night, they will raise the 2010 South Atlantic League Championship banner.

Ticket packages and group outings are now on sale by calling 732-901-7000 option 3.

- BlueClaws -

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

    Congratulations To Professor Ricardo Almeida on his win at UFC 124 in Montreal, Canada over TJ Grant.

    Nick Catone: Slowing Down to Overcome Injuries

    by Bob Badders on December 3, 2010 12:00:56 PM in FeaturesFighter Features  |   No Comments »

    Nick Catone (photo courtesy of Sherdog)

    For a person who has yet to find his own “off switch” and knows only one speed – full – Nick Catone was forced to make a decision this past summer that went against everything he stands for, even if it was the right choice.

    The Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight was forced out of a fight with John Salter, scheduled for UFC 113 last May, due to a trio of herniated disks. No problem, thought Catone. He received some treatment and jumped back into training just a couple weeks later. With a 2-2 record in the Octagon, Catone wasn’t going to let an injury derail him that easily.

    Once cleared to get back into the cage, Catone made the decision to drop down to the welterweight division, and a fight was set up with Tomasz Drwal for UFC Fight Night 22 in September. But during training and his attempt to get down to 170, things started to unravel. Catone also had a nagging shoulder injury that he’d been battling for the better part of a year and a half, and the cortisone shots were becoming less and less effective. Then, stemming from what he believes was a combination of being light and weak, he re-injured his back.

    That’s when it became obvious to Catone that it was time to take the foot off the gas, and not just for a couple of weeks.

    “It was really tough,” Catone said after finishing up teaching a class at his brand new gym in central New Jersey. “Wrestling my whole life, I never really took any time off. Even since my first fight, I would always say I was going to take a week or two off and I never did. I would take three days off and start staring at the ceiling all day, so I would just go right back to training.

    “It was hard to pull out of one fight, let alone two. My instincts had me back out there 12, 13 days later (after the back injury). People were like, ‘What are you doing out there?’ That’s just the way my mindset is, but in reality it came back to haunt me. It was time to sit down and look at my career long-term.”

    In January 2010, Catone evened his UFC record at 2-2 with a split-decision win over Jesse Forbes at UFC Fight Night 20. The victory came after a two-fight losing streak in which he was submitted by Tim Credeur at UFC Fight Night 18 and then lost a controversial split decision to Mark Munoz at UFC 102. Getting his record back over .500 was first and foremost on his mind, but his injuries taught him that sometimes less is more. He had surgery on his shoulder in August and an epidural in his back a short time later. He may not have been enjoying his time off, but he started to see it was exactly what he needed for several reasons.

    “I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am today that it’s not worth it to go in there when you can’t put on a good fight,” Catone said. “That’s how the UFC works. They want to see a good fight and I think they like me because I go out and put on good fights. Even if I went in there and won but had a boring fight that nobody wanted to see, that’s not worth me getting in there hurt.”

    As much as it pained Catone to pull out of a second consecutive fight, more good has come out of his decision than even he thought, including being able to do something he originally thought wouldn’t happen until several years down the road.

    Nick Catone enjoys opening his new gym with some of his coaches and training partners. (Hector Castro/

    On Sept. 18, Catone officially opened Nick Catone’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Brick, N.J. The facility has 2,200 square feet of mat space and offers classes in boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA, and allowed Catone to sink his teeth into something else while rehabbing from his injuries. It also meant he didn’t have the pressure of taking fights solely for monetary purposes, which is never a good spot for a fighter to be in. His injuries now look like a blessing in disguise.

    Not only did he open his own MMA gym, but he also decided to take his training in a different direction and re-connect with the Ricardo Almeida/Renzo Gracie Fight Team. He went from bouncing around to different gyms in search of capable training partners to being just a short drive away from Almeida’s gym and an opportunity to train with the likes of Almeida, UFC and EliteXC veteran Chris Liguori, Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar.

    “Some good things have definitely come out of (being injured), like getting my school up and running,” Catone said. “It’s definitely something I always wanted to do, but I didn’t really plan on doing it this soon. It’s tough to train full-time in this sport and make a decent living unless you’re actually getting in there and fighting, so it’s nice to have something to fall back on. At the same time, it’s nice to have my own place to train.”

    Catone has been slowly training since his school opened, but was just recently cleared to return to full-contact training and informed UFC matchmaker Joe Silva of his intentions to get back into the Octagon – fully healthy. A fight hasn’t been scheduled for him yet, but he’s getting back in shape with training sessions at either his gym or Almeida’s, the latter of which boasts an impressive array of stars these days.

    “I think (Almeida) has one of the best rooms on the east coast,” Catone said. “When you have six or seven guys in the UFC, Eddie Alvarez and guys like that out there, that’s huge. It’s hard to find one or two guys at that level, let alone five or six in the same room.”

    After a couple months on the shelf and some wondering about where his career was headed, things are certainly looking up for Catone. He’s scrapped his plans for dropping to welterweight and will stay at 185 pounds for the foreseeable future. He has his own school, a great set of training partners and a new outlook. He’s learned that he can’t always just power through everything, and sometimes you have to take one step back to take a couple more forward. There’s an understanding of what he wants his future in the sport to be. He’s not rushing to get to his next fight anymore. He’s thinking about his next five, 10, 15 fights. He’s aiming for a career in the UFC, not just a stint and a couple of good stories to tell the grandkids.

    “The next fight is important for me, but every fight is important in the UFC,” explained Catone. “If you go out there and have a bad performance, they have thousands of other guys to choose from.

    “It’s an elite group and I want to stay a part of it for a long time, so I have to go out there and perform no matter who they put in front of me. I’m looking forward to getting back, and right now it just feels great to be training again with the guys.”

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    Nick Catone to undergo surgery on re-injured shoulder and back, return date unknown

    by Steven Marrocco on Aug 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm ET
    UFC middleweight Nick Catone (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is nursing multiple injures and is unsure of when he'll be back in the cage.

    As ( reported Monday, the fighter was forced to withdraw from a scheduled fight with Tomasz Drawl (17-3-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 22 on Sept. 15 and was replaced by Dave Branch (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). 

    Catone will on Thursday undergo surgery for a long-running shoulder injury which derailed his preparation for Drwal. Additionally, he will get an epidural shot next week for his back, which he first injured in April.  

    "I just need to get healthy, man," he said today. "I've been fighting through workouts and trying to take a day or two off here and there, and it's just been getting worse and worse. I'm pretty bummed out about it because this is two in a row now that I've missed."

    Catone said his shoulder trouble began 18 months ago. After masking the pain with multiple cortisone shots, he realized he couldn't wait any longer to fix the problem. 

    "It's just at the point where it's affecting my training," he said. "I've got no strength in it."

    Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug used for a variety of injuries and is commonly used by athletes. 

    The New Jersey native said he will undergo physical therapy after the procedure but couldn't pinpoint a specific date in which he'll be ready to return. 

    Meanwhile, he is scheduled to get the epidural shot – similar to a cortisone injection – to address pain from three herniated discs in his back. That injury forced him to withdraw from a scheduled bout with John Salter at UFC 113. 

    Prior to the Drawl booking, Catone expressed interest in dropping to the welterweight class, but the UFC had other ideas for his immediate future.

    After training through the serious injuries, Catone said the the procedures are a clear sign that he needs to start training smarter and not harder. He won't get back in the octagon until he feels healthy again. 

    "The fans like to see you get back in there, but I'm not even close to 100 percent," Catone said. "Getting in there (at) 75 percent is not going to do me any good. I think it's to the point where I've got to start getting smarter with my career.
    "I don't really take a lot of time off. When I first initially hurt my back with the three herniated discs, I was back in training two weeks later - just pad work and stuff, nothing crazy, but I just don't think I gave it enough time."

    For the latest on 
    UFC Fight Night 22, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of

    Nick will be opening his own school this summer in his hometown Brick, NJ!


    will be offering several programs for men, women, and kids. 
    Go to for more info!

    Nick has reunited with Team Renzo Gracie / Ricardo 
    Almeida in Hamilton NJ! 

    Ricardo Almeida is the first student to ever be awarded a Black Belt by legendary Gracie family member Renzo Gracie. A 3rd Degree Black Belt, Ricardo is a member of the Renzo Gracie Competition Team, which is one of the most accomplished Jiu Jitsu Schools in the world.
    Prior to moving to the United States, Ricardo has attained 4 National Titles and a Pan AmGold medal. Ricardo is also a Silver Medalist at the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships, and veteran of Mixed Martial Arts Events such as Pride FC and the notorious Ultimate Fighting Championship, being awarded the Submission of the Event at UFC 35 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Nick is looking forward to training with his new team for his next upcoming fight.

    News- May 9,2010

    Nick's looking forward to getting back to training! 

    Nick had just received the news that he will be cleared by Doctor's to resume full

     training on June 1st and is hoping to be back in the octagon by the end of

     the summer!

    Rider Alumni and Training Partner of Nick Catone's Going To

     World Freestyle Team Trials.

    Doug Umbehauer
    View largerPhoto Credit: Associated Press

    Doug Umbehauer

    Freestyle Wrestling
    Rider's Umbehauer Heading to World Team Trials

    LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ-Doug Umbehauer '09, a graduate assistant at Rider University, placed second at the ASICS 

    University Nationals hosted by USA Wrestling in Akron, OH April 10 & 11. By virtue of finishing second he secured a 

    spot in both the University World Team Trials, held in Colorado Springs, CO May 28-29 and the Sr. World Team Trials,

     held in Council Bluffs, Iowa June 11-12. "I am excited about the opportunity to wrestle in the world team trials against 

    the best athletes our country has to offer," Umbehauer said. "To be given the opportunity to compete to represent the

     United States in World competition is an experience I will not forget."

    At the ASICS University Nationals, Umbehauer (Shamong, NJ/Lenape High) won four of five bouts, all in the 

    championship bracket, losing only in the finals. "I enjoyed competing again last week and it was very encouraging to 

    do well after being out of competition and out of freestylewrestling for so long," Umbehauer said.  "I now have an idea of 

    what I need to do to improve and further my wrestling career. "Umbehauer's next competition will be April 23-25 in Cleveland, Ohio at the US Open, where

     the best freestyle wrestlers in the nation will be competing. "This is very big for Doug as he attempts to win a spot on the University World Team, which

     would be the first ever for our program," said Rider Associate Head Coach John Hangey.  "He has been great at every level of wrestling throughout his

     entire life and I expect nothing less from him at the next level which is highest level there is in wrestling."

    Umbehauer earned All-America honors by placing third in the nation in his 184 pound 

    weight class at the2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo.

    Umbehauer is the third Bronc to finish a Rider-best third in the nation. At Nationals he defeated the second seed from Iowa in the quarterfinals to earn 

    All-American honors. Umbehauer was a four-time NCAA qualifier and two-time Colonial Athletic Association Champion and finished his career with

     a record of 103-35.  In 2006-07 Umbehauer placed second at Midlands and in 2008-09 he placed third. He was a Freshman All-American in 2005-06.



    Brick-based middleweight Nick Catone (8-2) was forced to pull out of his UFC 113 May 8th bout in

     Montreal,Canada, against John Salter (4-1), an Alabama wrestler coming off a loss against Gerald 

    Harris. Catone suffered a back injury during one of his weight training workouts . Rather than cause

     further damage to three herniated discs and one bulging disc in his lower back, Catone followed

     doctors’ suggestions to pull out of the fight. A full recovery is expected and Nick plans on being back

     in the octagon by the end of the summer. Catone had been improving his boxing game greatly by 

    training with legendary Jersey Shore pugilist FrankSavannah, who also hails from Brick. Savannah was

     National Golden Gloves Middleweight champ beforeamassing and 15-1 pro record. 

    Next Fight UFC 113 Montreal,Canada

     Vs. John Salter

    Shore area wrestlers reach UFC cage success


    1 2
    Kurt Pellegrino|

    Nick Catone

    Read More

    By Adam Hochron

    In a wrestling hotbed like the Shore Conference, it only makes sense that some of the top athletes to come to the sport would pursue their competitive endeavors at the highest levels possible.

    For two Shore Conference alums, Kurt Pellegrino of Point Boro and Nick Catone of Brick Memorial, their journeys have taken them from the high school mats to the octagons of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

    Just this past weekend, Pellegrino made the short trip to The Prudential Center in Newark for UFC 111 where he beat Fabricio Camoes and was awarded the “Submission of the Night,” award for bringing his bout to a speedy end in the second period.

    For the former two-time state runnerup, during his time with the Boro, being able to fight so close to home was an opportunity he greatly enjoyed and made that much better by being able to give the fans in attendance an impressive win.

    “When I was fighting in Newark I was just pumped to be fighting in Newark in front of all my hometown fans,” he said.

    The bout against Camoes was the first in several months for Pellegrino who was forced to withdraw from a match against another former Shore wrestler, Frankie Edgar with a back injury. Heading into Saturday’s action, the former Panther said that while his back was not in perfect condition, his conditioning made it a non-factor in the end result.

    “I definitely feel much better,” he said after having some extra time to recover. “It would only get better if I stopped and I’m not going to stop anytime soon.”

    The day of the fight, Pellegrino said he was “so fired up and so pumped up,” after all the preparation that by the time he was going to the arena known as “The Rock,” he was ready to get into the cage. “By the time I got there I was so on fire I didn’t care if I was fighting the heavyweights,” said the 155-pound grappler.

    It was not until the fight was over that Pellegrino said he realized just how much the crowd was behind him, which made the victory that much sweeter. “When I won, when that fight was over, I realized I was in the state of New Jersey and that was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life,” he said.

    The night was also significant for Pellegrino for another reason. Outside of his own career, the former Panther owns and teaches at a Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Belmar that bears his name. For the first time in the young school’s history, one of Pellegrino’s students, Greg Soto, took to the octagon in his UFC debut.

    Soto, a former Ocean Township wrestler, took a loss in his first match on the highest level to Matthew Riddle, but his coach and teacher said just being there was enough for the young fighter.

    “I was very excited for Greg and happy for Greg,” Pellegrino said.

    Though he regretted not being able to be in Soto’s corner as he was preparing for his own match, Pellegrino said it was a good learning experience for the young fighter. “In the UFC, Greg Soto is now one of the best fighters in the world because he fights for the UFC,” he said.

    With a little more seasoning and experience, and a little more bulking up, Pellegrino said Soto should be able to erase any memory of his first loss with more wins to come down the road.

    As for when he expects to be back in the cage himself, Pellegrino said his next match will likely not come again until August which is both good and bad as he works to climb the ladder in the organization. While he will enjoy the time off, Pellegrino said he knows he will be back training even harder for his still to be determined opponent. “I’m an engine of work and that’s what I have to do,” he said. “When I have it [his next fight] I will be a completely different fighter. I keep changing and getting better.”

    As a forerunner to the Shore Conference wrestlers who have followed in his footsteps to the UFC, including Catone, Pellegrino said he enjoys seeing the levels of success they have enjoyed. “Everyone has to keep growing in this sport,” he said. “Me, Jim Miller, and Frankie Edgar are probably in the top 10 wrestlers in UFC and we all wrestled on the same mat at least once.”

    Pellegrino, who has been in Catone’s corner for several fights said he enjoys training with the former Mustang wrestler, but knows he has limits against him as well. “I don’t even wrestle with Nick because he SMASHES me,” he said of the bigger wrestler.

    Now that the fight is behind him, Pellegrino said he can go back to focusing helping his students whether they are training to go into the octagon or just doing martial arts. “We have all these things for all these people and I just want people to achieve their goals and see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

    While Pellegrino is powering down from his fight, Catone is busy gearing up for his next bout at UFC 113 in Montreal against John Slater.

    Mixing his own training with teaching his classes takes up a bulk of his time, but Catone said when he first graduated college five years ago he had no idea this was how his life would have turned out.

    Now that he sees what he has accomplished, Catone said he would not want it any other way. He credits former Brick Memorial Coach and current Rider University assistant coach Jay Nase and another Rider assistant John Hangey with giving him the guidance to go from the Brick School to the NCAA National Tournament to the UFC. “What I’m doing today has a lot to do with those guys,” he said.

    With no real major leagues for wrestlers to go into after college, Catone said the UFC was an opportunity to stay competitive and use the skills he developed over the past few years. With wrestling as his base, Catone said he feels comfortable with that, but also has improved at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, rising to the rank of a brown belt with his sights set on becoming a black belt sometime in the next two years.

    Having finished just one round shy of finishing his college wrestling career as an All American, Catone said originally his plans after Rider included coaching at his two alma maters and was enjoying that. “I thought that was going to be it competing-wise,” he said. “I never thought I’d get into something as serious as I am now.”

    Since it was not in his original plans, Catone said he does not know exactly how long his career in the cage will last. “I’ll do it for as long as I can,” he said. “I’m riding the wave right now and I'll see how far it takes me.”

    And when it comes to having Pellegrino in his corner, Catone said the wealth of knowledge the former Panther brings with him is his biggest asset. “I need him there more for the knowledge and mental support,” Catone said.

    That support, Catone said comes in handy especially with all that comes with being a UFC competitor. Whether it is interviews or just the whole experience of the big time Pay Per View events, the former Rider Bronc wrestler said there is just a lot to take in. “The more I get in there, the more I’m comfortable with it,” he said.

    Nick Will be at Goodsports in Wall Township, NJ signing autograph's this Saturday April 3rd. Head2HeadCombat Nick's sponsor presents the Supreme Grappling Tournament III. For more info go to

    Former Brick Township "National Golden Gloves Middleweight Champion" 

    Frank Savannah  has been added to the training staff of Team Catone. Frank was 15-1-1 as a Professional Boxer and brings a lot of experience to Nick's training. Nick is excited to have Frank is his training camp as he gets ready for his next big fight, UFC 113 on May 8th in Montreal, Canada.


     Nick Catone vs. John Salter on tap for UFC 113 prelims in Montreal

    by Dann Stupp on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm ET
    May's UFC 113 event will get a late addition with a middleweight fight pitting Nick Catone (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. John Salter (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC). 

    Sources close to the event told bout agreements have been distributed and signed by at least one fighter. 

    UFC 113 takes place on May 8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The main card, which includes a main event and rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and challenger Mauricio"Shogun" Rua, airs live on pay-per-view. 

    Watch the Devils vs. Rangers from a suite with Frank Edgar &
     Nick Catone of UFC. That’s right you can win one of 10 pairs of tickets to this once an a lifetime event to see the Devils take on the New York Rangers, March 25 at Prudential Center with both Frank Edgar & Nick Catone of the UFC. UFC 111 is at Prudential Center Saturday, March 27 and also on Pay-Per-View.

    Rider School NewsPaper Article - February 2010

    Rider graduate Nick Catone made another splash in the world of professional mixed martial arts recently. Catone, who made his UFC debut back in February of 2009, started off with an impressive win in his first fight the biggest MMA organization in the world. However, Catone was slowed down a bit and dropped his next two fights, falling to a 1-2 record in the UFC. His second loss came with a bit of controversy as Nick lost by a split decision to former four time all american college wrestler Mark Munoz. “I thought I did enough to win the fight but it didn’t go my way and I was pretty bummed.” Nick said. A split decision loss occurs when only two of the three judges agree that one fighter won the fight, in theory making this the closest way to lose an MMA bout.

    The heartbreak didn’t last long for Nick however, as the UFC contacted him just two days later offering him a new four-fight deal. “I was definitely excited to get a new deal,” Catone said. “I had one fight left on my original contract, and they must have seen something they liked in my performance.” After signing him to a new deal, the UFC later announced that Catone’s next fight would be against former professional kickboxer Steve Steinbeiss.

    Elated with his new deal, Catone wasn’t taking any chances with his next fight and decided to change his training routine. “I’ve added a whole new strength and conditioning program into my training,” Catone said. “I feel a big difference from it so I feel that the extra hard work is paying off.” Catone also started training Kurt Pellegrino, another UFC fighter from New Jersey.

    Pellegrino is a seasoned veteran, with 9 UFC bouts under his belt. Catone began training at Pellegrino’s school in Belmar, NJ for his fight with Steinbeiss. Catone and Pellegrino shared some history before they began training together. “We wrestled around the same years in high school. Kurt graduated in ’98 from Point Pleasant Boro H.S. and I graduated ’99 from the next town over at Brick Memorial H.S.” Catone said. “So we’ve known eachother and been friends for a long time before our fighting days.”

    In the weeks leading up to his fight, Nick received some bad news from the UFC. Steinbeiss had to withdraw from the fight due to an injury. Catone was used to hearing this kind of news, as his first opponent withdrew from their fight several times before the UFC found a replacement. This time was different however, as the UFC almost instantly name Jesse Forbes to be Catone’s new opponent. “The opponent change is always annoying,” Catone said. “But in this sport unfortunately injuries can happen at any time and you have to be prepared for anything. I’m just glad they were able to find a replacement for me.” Forbes was making his return to the UFC after nearly a four year stint with other various organizations.

    Catone would make one last change before entering the octagon to take on Forbes. During the pre fight introductions Nick debuted his newly adopted nickname, Nick “The Jersey Devil” Catone. The fight opened up with an action packed first round that left Catone bleeding from the nose. This injury can often slow fighters down considerably as it make breathing very difficult. Catone pressed on however and put on a very impressive second round. Catone was unable to take Forbes down in the fight but he showed very impressive improvement in his striking and conditioning and used that push Forbes around and take the fight to a decision.

    This time the judges felt the Nick did enough to win the fight and handed him his own split decision victory in what call “a hugely entertaining fight.”Catone now holds a 2-2 record in the UFC, and is looking forward to the announcement of his next opponent.

    January 11, 2010 - Catone Earns Hard - Fought Win at UFN 20

    “The Jersey Devil”, Nick Catone returned to his winning ways with a hard-fought, split decision victory over TUF alum, Jesse Forbes. With the victory Nick improves his record to 8-2.  Fighting on the Ultimate Fight Night 20 card on January 11, in Fairfax, VA., Nick had to overcome several obstacles in-route to winning the fight.  Jesse Forbes, a tough south-paw, was a late replacement for scheduled opponent, Steven Steinbess and Nick suffered a broken nose early in the fight.  However, Nick was not to be stopped as he earned his second victory inside the UFC Octagon®. 

    Posted News.. January, 13, 2010
    Nick Catone will be featured as one of the top-five up & coming middleweight fighters in the next issue of UFC (the magazine). Please check it out… the magazine is scheduled to be available early next week at your local news stand or favorite MMA shop.

    Posted UFC News.. March 27, 2009 - NICK CATONE - Worth The Wait 
    By Thomas Gerbasi

    Nick Catone won’t reveal whether he wore cloves of garlic around his neck while avoiding black cats and refusing to walk under ladders in the lead-up to his February bout with Derek Downey. So let’s just say that when the bell rang that night in Tampa, he was happy that someone was standing across from him in the Octagon.

    “When we both set foot in the cage, I said ‘all right, it’s gonna happen,’” laughs the New Jersey native, who had more than a rocky road to get to his first UFC fight, a road that saw Catone have two fights with Amir Sadollah get scrapped due to his opponent’s injuries, one even getting cancelled on fight week last November.

    So when Catone walked into the Octagon and actually saw an opponent ready to fight him, the past few months of frustration came pouring out in the form of a ferocious attack that led to a second round submission victory. At long last, he had his first UFC victory.

    “I felt pretty comfortable for my first fight in there,” said Catone, who improved to 7-0 with the win. “It was good to get the first one out of the way to show that it’s not all hype and to show the fans and the UFC that I belong here. I was glad to get in there, get the win the way I did, and I’m pretty happy with the way the whole night went.” 

    What made it even better for Catone was knowing that he had a group of family and friends that traveled to Florida to finally see their favorite fighter make his UFC debut. “I think everyone was excited,” he said. “I was supposed to fight Amir twice and everybody was looking forward to it, so I think they were happy for me to finally get in there. I’ve got a good following of family and friends that come down to all the fights, and they know how hard I work and how much time I put in, so they didn’t expect anything less from me. I have a lot of people behind me, and it’s nice to get the win for myself and for the fans that have been following me, and my training partners, my school, and Bill Scott.”

    It would be hard to find any negatives in Catone’s performance against the 10-3 Downey, as he controlled the bout from the opening right hand that raised a nasty welt on the side of his opponent’s head until the finish in the second round, dominating the bout wherever it went while showing solid takedown defense, good knees, and his own patented ground attack.

    “I was actually surprised that he came after me and tried to take me down,” said Catone, a former wrestler for Rider University and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “But I took it one step at a time, wherever it went, and I’m comfortable on the ground or standing, so I went with the flow and was able to dominate all the positions throughout the fight and come away with the submission in the second round. Hopefully I can win like that every time, but that’s a pretty hard task.”

    On Wednesday, Catone makes a quick turnaround, stepping in on a few weeks notice to take on Ultimate Fighter alum Tim Credeur. After the starts and stops surrounding the aborted Sadollah bouts, is jumping back into the Octagon less than two months after his last fight an effort to make up for lost time?

    “I’m always willing to jump in there,” said the 27-year old. “I’m always training, and if the opportunity approaches, I’m gonna jump on it. The more I get in there, the quicker I can get up the ladder and show everybody what I can do. If I’m fighting every five or six months, I’m not getting any younger, so I might as well jump on it while I can get it.”

    And given that Catone rarely strays from the gym, came out relatively unscathed from the Downey fight, and has been working with the Rider University wrestling team as they prepared for the National Championship tournament, when the call came to travel to Nashville for next week’s UFC Fight Night card, Catone was in.

    “It’s weird, but I kinda had a feeling I was gonna be fighting soon,” he said. “So I really didn’t stop training after the fight. I might have taken a day or two off, but I pretty much stayed on it. I’m ready to go all the time, so it’s not like I was sitting around for two or three weeks not training and then had to jump in there.”

    In Credeur, Catone will be taking on a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who has nonetheless shown much improved striking in his wins over Cale Yarbrough and Nate Loughran since coming off the TUF series. Catone expects more of the same from the Louisiana native, especially since his last two outings on the show against wrestlers weren’t exactly stellar performances.

    “I’ve been working on a lot of standup since I was getting ready to fight Amir, and I started working on the Muay Thai and a lot of different stuff that I didn’t really get into until I knew I was fighting him,” said Catone. “I’m pretty comfortable on my feet, but I saw his (Credeur’s) two fights against Jesse Taylor and (CB) Dollaway, two wrestlers, and they kinda controlled the fight, so I figure that maybe he’s gonna try and keep it standing since his hands have gotten a lot better. But I don’t worry too much about what he’s gonna do, I want to stick with my gameplan, and just go from there – wherever it goes, it goes. I’m looking to get in there for the second time, hopefully come away with a second win and keep the ball rolling.” Not bad considering that he has been in the pro game less than two years.

    “It’s definitely been a ride,” said Catone. “It will be two years this May since I’ve been fighting professionally. I kinda started out rolling in Bill Scott’s garage, and now it’s all the way up to the UFC. I always had a goal to get there and it happened quick and I’m happy about it. Now I just want to keep on improving, keep the wins coming, take it one step at a time, and kinda ride that wave as long as I can. I’m gonna keep working hard, staying focused, and staying on that straight line.”

    Catone's Next Fight is Scheduled
    Nick Catone to Fight in UFC in Nashville on April 1st 2009 against Tim Creduer.

    February 15, 2009 - Rider University News - Catone Wins in UFC Debut

    By Michael Mack - Rider

    Watch out Jason Thompson! There’s a new Bronc hitting the professional sports scene. Former Rider wrestler Nick Catone entered the world of professional athletics Saturday. But it’s not the NBA Catone debuted in. Catone instead stepped into the octagon and kicked off his career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Catone, a Rider graduate with the class of 2004, had 100 career wins as a wrestler here at Rider. He was also a two time conference champ, a two time national qualifier, and was ranked as high as seventh in the nation in his 184 lb. weight class. Catone says he feels that wrestling at Rider has helped prepare him for his career in the UFC. “It’s definitely great to have that Division 1 wrestling experience in my pocket. You gotta have one really good base. You can’t just come off the streets and hope to train and be in the UFC. You gotta have a background in something.” says Catone.

    In his first fight, Nick went up against another man making his UFC debut in Derek Downey, an older and slightly bigger opponent. Despite this, Nick was able to use his wrestling skills very early in the fight by avoiding an early takedown.. Downey was later able to get Catone on his back, but Catone quickly reversed and got himself in good position to throw some punches. Nick landed a few good shots before the end of the 1st round, leaving Downey with a baseball sized welt on his head. The second round was even more dominant for Catone. He quickly put downey on his back and began to work his submissions. At a minute and 15 seconds into the 2nd round, Catone made Downey submit to a keylock, which is an arm lock that essentially wrenches the shoulder. With this submission Nick was able to chalk up his first win in the UFC.

    The win will certainly move Catone up the ranks of the UFC’s 185 lb middleweight class. There is no certain fight lined up for Catone now, although it is speculated that his next opponent may be Amir Sadollah, the winner of the UFC’s popular reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter”. Sadollah and Catone were scheduled to meet twice in the past, but Sadollah backed out both times due to injury. Nick was definitely upset when he had heard that Amir backed out, but if he is given another opportunity we can expect to see a very fired up Nick Catone. There is no timetable for Nick’s next fight just yet, but it is likely for him to return in April or May.

    February 4, 2009 - UFC® News - Third Time’s The Charm for Nick Catone
    By Thomas Gerbasi

    Las Vegas. November 2008. Nick Catone had arrived. Five and a half hours after his plane ride from New Jersey began, he was about to embark on the most important journey of his young mixed martial arts career, a pay-per-view bout against The Ultimate Fighter season seven winner Amir Sadollah.

    Then the roof caved in, when he was told that a leg infection was going to keep Sadollah from competing on the UFC 91 card. Catone, in fine east coast form, took the news in stride, went through his UFC paperwork and photo shoot, and took in the fights, content that he would get his opportunity soon enough.

    That ‘soon enough’ was going to come on February 7th, with Catone again scheduled to face Sadollah. But this time, a separated shoulder and broken clavicle left Sadollah on the sidelines and Catone without a fight. Seemingly cursed, Catone went back to the gym and trained, and eventually Derek Downey was brought in for Saturday’s fight. Finally – knock wood for luck – Catone will make his UFC debut.

    “It was pretty frustrating and I just tried to stay focused,” said Catone of the last two and a half months. “I’m doing this full-time, I’m putting everything I’ve got into this and it’s definitely a letdown when you hear that the guy’s out again. But I’m glad they got somebody and I’m just happy to finally step in there. I don’t really know too much about him (Downey), but I’ve been training hard and I just want to show people that I belong at this level. I want to put a good show on for everybody and show them what I’m all about.”

    What Catone brings to the table is similar to what the rest of his Garden State brethren provide to UFC fans – no nonsense fights with the type blue collar work ethic that has allowed Kurt Pellegrino, Frankie Edgar, Dan and Jim Miller, and Mike Massenzio to make immediate impacts in the Octagon. What do they have in common other than location? That all-important wrestling base and a competitive nature that is second to none.

    “I just think the whole tri-state area is so competitive, especially with a lot of the wrestlers from the Jersey shore and this whole area getting into it,” said Catone, a three-time Division I qualifier with 100 D1 wins for Rider University. “The wrestling community has grown so much, and just the New Jersey State finals alone, out of the 28 finalists, 17 were from the shore area. A lot of guys are getting into MMA, and it’s just a competitive area. Frankie wrestled, the Miller brothers wrestled, Massenzio wrestled and so did Kurt.”

    But after college ends, it’s usually off to a ‘real’ job or a coaching spot. Catone did both, taking an assistant coaching slot at Rider while working with his father in a family-owned sheet metal business. In 2005 though, Catone got an introduction to a new world that would change his life.

    “After college and wrestling, I got into coaching, and Bill Scott, my jiu-jitsu instructor, is a black belt under Ricardo Almeida,” he said. “One night he told me to throw this gi on – I kinda looked at him funny, but I tried it out, fell in love with jiu-jitsu and a year later I was fighting.”

    In May of 2007, the Brick resident made his pro debut with a win over Dan Karnbauer that lasted just 83 seconds. His next fight, a month later, was a three round win over John Howard – the same John Howard who made quite a big impression last Saturday night with his UFC 94 victory over Chris Wilson. For Catone, it was a crash course in dealing with big crowds as he competed on the undercard of the Kimbo Slice vs Ray Mercer bout at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. So couple that with his Division I wrestling career, and Catone isn’t likely to be flustered by the crowds at Tampa’s Sun Dome this weekend.

    “I’ve been wrestling my whole life,” he said. “I wrestled Division I, wrestled out at Nebraska in the Nationals and those arenas hold 15,000 people, and I always had that competitive urge and always liked being the center of attention. My second fight was that Cage Fury fight at the Boardwalk Hall with Kimbo and that was 8-10,000 people and I took that fight on two weeks’ notice. I fought a guy John Howard, who at the time was 5-0, and I just don’t let that stuff get to me. I just try to stay focused on the small things and keep my mind on my gameplan, and hopefully everything works out from there.”

    It has so far. After the win over Howard, four more opponents fell, all in the first round via submission or TKO. But don’t expect Catone to walk into the Octagon as if he’s unbeatable; he’s confident, but still aware that he’s got a lot to learn in the fight game.

    “I’m definitely a student of the game, and everyday I’m looking to do something different and better myself, whether it’s Muay Thai or going to train with different jiu-jitsu guys, or doing kettle bell training,” said the soft-spoken 27-year old. “I didn’t expect to be on the ride I am this quick. I just got in there, tried to compete at a level I thought I could compete at, and luckily I finished a lot of my fights early and I think I proved the point that I think I’m ready to take the step to the next level. I’ve been working hard, I’m always trying to improve every day, and now that I’m training full-time, I think that’s gonna make a difference. The first six fights I was running a construction company with my dad doing sheet metal and training at night, and now that I’ve got this opportunity, I’ve been training full-time, so I think that’s gonna help me out a lot. All my friends and family and the rest of the wrestling community know the type of kid I am. I’m a blue collar kid, grew up just like everybody else around here, and I worked for everything I had. Everyone knows that when I do something, I do it one hundred percent, and everybody respects what I do.”

    Now all he needs is for someone to show up on fight night.

    “I just want to get in there, prove I belong, pull out this victory, and surprise people,” said Catone. “People around the area know what I’m capable of, but outside of here, people don’t know about me and I’ve only been fighting for a short amount of time, so I think this is definitely gonna be a challenge for me, but it’s something I’m up for and that I’m looking forward to.”


    Nick Catone's to Fight Derek Downey on Feb. 7th, 2009

    It's confirmed. Amir Saddolah has backed out again due to another medical/injury issue. Nick Catone will now fight Derek Downey. BJJ Shore Academy's Nick Catone's fight debut in the UFC will finally take place on February 7th, 2009 at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.


    The Past and Future 01.10.09: Nick Catone by

    Click Here to Read Article

    Posted by Robert Steele on 01.10.2009

    The Past and Future profiles the career paths of the known and the unknown in MMA. This week a profile, with exclusive interview, of soon to debut UFC fighter Nick Catone. Read Article


    December 23, 2008 - Nick Catone's Debut UFC Fight Night - Feb. 7th, 2009

    The new time and place for BJJ Shore Academy's Nick Catone's fight debut in the UFC against Amir Sadollah has been confirmed. This long awaited bout will finally take place on February 7th, 2009 at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. Nick vs.Amir is one of the main card bouts and we are excited that everyone will get to watch his fight on Spike TV.

    His home fan base is proudly ready to tune in and see him fight. Since the original fight bout was cancelled back in November due to Amir Sadollah's leg infection, Nick has continued to train super hard over the last month and with 6 weeks left he's ready to make his UFC debut and take on Amir Feb. 7th.

    Tickets on sale:

    Former Rider Wrestler now an Ultimate Fighter
    Competing in Vegas on Pay Per View November 15

    Since graduating from Rider University in 2004, Nick Catone has been working toward becoming a member of the police department. While doing so he has been helping his father run the family business in East Orange, NJ, a sheet metal shop.
    Lately, Catone has been dealing with a different type of mettle, the courage to be an Ultimate Fighter in the world of mixed martial arts as a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

    “Nick has worked extremely hard to place himself in this position and we wish him continued success as he pursues his dreams and goals,” said Rider head wrestling coach Gary Taylor.
    “The UFC is the super bowl of MMA (mixed martial arts),” said Catone, who graduated from Rider with a degree in Psychology and 75 career wins in three seasons on the Bronc wrestling team. “I just got into the UFC and that was my goal, that is where I wanted to be. I’m pretty excited to get in there.”

    “This is a tremendous opportunity for Nick,” said Taylor. “Nick had a great career for us as a student-athlete and we are very proud of his most recent successes in the MMA circuit. Nick has endured many tough times throughout his life and athletic career but has persevered through them all.”

    Catone battled through a knee injury at Rider that ended his 2002 season prematurely and caused him to sit out the 2003 season. As a senior he endured thumb injuries that required surgery.
    Catone was a two-time conference champion at Rider and as a senior was 34-4, including 2-2 at Nationals, 9-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association dual meets and was a CAA Champion. He still holds the Rider record for takedowns in a season with 100.
    Now, as an Ultimate Fighter, he will compete live from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena on Pay-Per-View television November 15.

    “I had six professional fights with a smaller organization, Arena Combat down in Atlantic City,” Catone said, “and someone liked what they saw. My manager sent out tapes and made some calls and was able to get me in.”

    Catone recently signed a four-fight deal with UFC. “My first is the November 15 fight in Vegas,” Catone said. “Randy Couture is the heavyweight champion and he’s fighting Brock Lesnar in the main event that night.”

    Lesnar is another former NCAA wrestler. “He was the NCAA Champ while competing for the University of Minnesota,” Catone said.

    Catone’s first UFC opponent, Amir Sadollah, is no stranger to UFC fans. The Ultimate Fighter was a reality television show on Spike TV where cameras rolled 24/7 in a house where ultimate fighters lived together and competed for a championship. “Amir Sadollah won the title and became the star of that show,” Catone said. “He’s famous from that show. You could say I’m fighting the American Idol winner of the MMA world.”

    Catone doesn’t mind facing a famous champion in his first UFC bout. “It’s a great opportunity to make a name for myself,” Catone said, “defeating someone who has already established a name for themselves.”

    Following graduation, Catone was helping coach the Brick Memorial wrestling team and another wrestling club down the Shore. “There was a jujutsu class right after our wrestling class,” Catone remembers. “At first I didn’t know if I wanted to do that, but I tried it and the next thing I knew I was training for my first fight a year later in Atlantic City.”

    There are five weight classes in the UFC, with Catone competing in the middle weight (185 pounds). “I wrestled at 184 pounds at Rider,” Catone remembers. “Professionally there hasn’t been anywhere to go for wrestlers, so lately you see a lot of former wrestlers getting into the mixed martial arts.”

    UFC competitors enter the mixed martial arts world with backgrounds in boxing, wrestling and the martial arts. “I think the wrestlers have an advantage due to the basics of our sport,” Catone said.

    From the sheet metal business to showing his true mettle, Nick Catone is ready to show the world he is where he wants to be. You just have to pay to view it.

    Photo Credit: Peter G. Borg (Rider University) 
    2004 CAA Champion Nick Catone


    July 2nd 2008 - Nick Catone Retains ROC Middleweight Championship!

    Another action packed event at Ring Of Combat last Friday, June 27th in Atlantic City, NJ as students of BJJ Shore Academy, friends and family came out to see Nick Catone defend his Middleweight Title against a very tough BJJ Black Belt, Eric Tavares from Shotokan BJJ.



    Nick won the fight via TKO (strikes) 4:25min. in round 1 improving his undefeated MMA record to 6-0 and retains the USKBA Middleweight Championship!

    May 10, 2008

    Ring of Combat Results


    USKBA Middleweight Championship

    Nick Catone vs. Mitch Whitesel

    Round 1: The favorite was tested early as Whitesel landed a left head kick early that Catone was able to brush off and clinch. Whitesel, confident enough to do some taunting in the ring, was quickly on the receiving end of Catone's relentless strikes. Whitesel defended well and was able to escape any real damage. However, Catone was just too much and overwhelmed Whitesel with strikes midway through the first round. A knee caught Whitesel and that was the beginning of the end.

    Nick Catone def. Mitch Whitesel by TKO - 2:27 rd. 1


    Former Wrestlers Turning to Mixed Martial Arts

    Brick Memorial's Catone now 2-0


    By Bob Badders - Staff Writer

    There was a large crowd similar to the ones he wrestled in front of as a Region VI champion for state high school powerhouse Brick Memorial, all his friends and family were in attendance and he had one objective: take apart the man standing across from him. However, Nick Catone would soon realize that was the only connection to his days as a wrestler.

    "This," he said, "is totally different then wrestling. "It's a different kind of rush that I've never felt before."

    That feeling came after Catone's submission victory over Dan Karnbaur in his first professional mixed martial arts fight on May 20 in Atlantic City. Instantly he was hooked and has since improved to 2-0 with a unanimous decision over John Howard in the Cage Fury Fighting Championships 5 pay-per-view on June 23. Catone is just the latest in a line of wrestlers turned fighters that have swarmed the MMA world and come away with great success. Former Point Boro wrestler Kurt Pellegrino spent years with organizations like Cage Fury Fighting, the sport's "minor leagues" and is now fighting with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the highest and most easily recongnized arena for MMA.

    So why the lure to a sport that requires intense training, the learning of several fighting disciplines and the ever-present prospect of injury? Well for one, this is perhaps the only avenue for a wrestler to stay in the game, so to speak. Wrestlers are not afforded the same luxuries that athletes who play football, baseball and basketball have. If you are good enough, there is a well-defined system in place that can lead to the professional level. Wrestlers can go to college and have the daunting task of trying to make the United States Olympic Team, which has worse odds than making it to the pros in other leagues. Unless one likes spandex pants, high boots and nicknames like "Doink the Clown," the wrestler's journey is over by his early 20s. The alternative is a league that is more soap opera than sport, more flying clothesline than double-leg takedown.

    Wrestlers quickly gravitated to MMA, a sport that while, according to Catone, is no comparison as far as the feeling in the ring, still has plenty of similarities to wrestling. Obviously the training for an MMA fight is rigorous, but if you know a wrestler that is a friend or a family member then you know what kind of dedication he has. All the wins and losses are accompanied by an intense mental and physical strain, which although taxing to the body, prepares it in ways few activities can. Will and fortitude might be the qualities that have made wrestlers so successfull in MMA.

    Catone is a great example of this. There is plenty of talent packed into his six-foot, 190-pound frame. During his days at Brick Memorial, Catone helped lead the Mustangs to back-to-back NJSIAA Group III titles in 1998 and 1999, and also the Shore Conference Tournament title in 1999. Individually, Catone was fourth in the state at 160 pounds in 1999 and also captured the Region VI and District 23 crowns that season. After high school, he had a brief stint at Rutgers University before moving on to Rider University, where he blossomed into one of the top wrestlers in the counrty.

    Determination and stick-to-itivness, however, are what made Catone a great wrestler and now a burgeoning mixed martial artist.
    "When Nicky sets his mind on something he does it," his father Nick said. "Some people will half do things, but when he wants something he goes for it all out."

    In college, Catone had to overcome a pair of near-debilitating injuries. After a sophomore season in which he led the Broncs in wins, he missed most of his junior campaign after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. It went from bad to worse when he got a staph infection in that knee. It was a scary situation, since he could have lost his leg, but disaster was averted in time for his senior season. During the 2004 season, Catone captured the Colonial Athletic Association conference championship at 184 pounds and advanced to the NCAA tournament. He did all of this with torn ligaments in his thumb that made routine moves difficult and painful. Then during his run through the NCAA bracket he suffered nearly the same injury to his other thumb, which made grappling nearly impossible. Thus his run at All-American status was cut short.

    That is all behind Catone now because he lives for the moment. When it was time to wrestle that was the only thing on his mind. Now it's time for something else, and it has his full and undivided attention. His next MMA fight will again be with Cage Fury Fighting and will take place on September 14 at Caesar's Palace in Atlantic City. The rush of adrenaline he gets when he steps inside the cage won't be comparable, but the fervor with which he attacks his latest task, well, that should be the same as it's always been.