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 inMontreal,Canada, against John Salter (4-1), an Alabama wrestler coming off a loss against GeraldHarris. Catone suffered a back injury during one of his weight training workouts . Rather than causefurther damage to three herniated discs and one bulging disc in his lower back, Catone followeddoctors’ suggestions to pull out of the fight. A full recovery is expected and Nick plans on being backin the octagon by the end of the summer. Catone had been improving his boxing game greatly bytraining with legendary Jersey Shore pugilist FrankSavannah, who also hails from Brick. Savannah wasNational Golden Gloves Middleweight champ beforeamassing and 15-1 pro record.
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.
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.
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 MMAjunkie.com 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.
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. http://www.prucenter.com/default.asp?prucenter=131&objId=32
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 MMAJunkie.com 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 WaitBy 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.”
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.”
“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
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 411mania.com
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: www.ufc.tv
Former Rider Wrestler now an Ultimate Fighter
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.
“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.
“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.
“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)
July 2nd 2008 - Nick Catone Retains ROC Middleweight Championship!
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
"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.
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.