Written by: Ryan Manahan
Every great Mixed Martial Artist that enters the octagon, gets their name announced by Bruce Buffer, and wears UFC gold around their waist, all make the same decision at one point in their life – to become a Professional Mixed Martial Artist.
John Sanguinetti has made that decision. After a three year run floating around the amateur circuit, Sanguinetti is going to try and make a career out of fighting.
“I think I’ve done everything I think there is to do in amateur and I want to see how much further I can take it as a pro,” John tells me over the phone on a cold November morning. It’s a busy morning for John. He’s getting ready to visit his parents who he doesn’t see as much as he used to as a result of his training. “I’ve invested a lot of time into this and I’ve sacrificed a lot so I’d like to see it pay off one day.”
Sanguinetti doesn’t look like the stereotype of a Mixed Martial Artist. He doesn’t have a mohawk and head tattoo like Chuck Lidell or the bleach blond hair of a Tito Ortiz. He would more likely be mistaken for a soccer player or a server at a local restaurant than a fighter. “A lot of people are surprised when they hear that I’m a fighter because I’m a pretty laid back person,” he says with a slight sense of amusement in his tone. “I’m not really a meathead jock or anything like that.”
He doesn’t look like a stereotypical fighter, and it’s maybe because he didn’t get into the sport in a typical way. He was the chubby kid growing up. The now 170 pound welterweight once topped the scales at 260 pounds and turned to martial arts to shed the weight.
“I was overweight when I was younger and I just needed a way to get in shape. Boxing seemed like the most fun way to do it… I was doing it more to get in shape than to compete.” The activity he turned to in an effort to slim down quickly turned from a hobby to a passion. He was boxing to lose weight and, soon after, his brother started training in Brazilian Ju Jitsu, which he joined him in. “I started out as a fan of MMA,” he tells me thinking back to his beginnings in the sport, “So it all just came together.” He started training in a wide range of martial arts to become well-rounded in all aspects of the game. With his skills accumulating and his passion growing stronger, he decided to test himself an actual bout.
“When I got my first fight, I wasn’t planning on going professional. I just wanted to get an MMA fight just to see how my skills would match against someone,” John speaks of his decision to take his first Amatuer MMA fight in Michigan. While his matches in Michigan were labeled “Amateur” they weren’t very different from what you’d see on a UFC Pay-Per-View in terms of safety and rules. (more…)
If you ever have the opportunity to speak to Brian Cimins, President and CEO of Grappler’s Quest at one of his events, do it. Brian is one of the most approachable, engaging, humble, exciting, and inspirational people you will ever find.
We had an opportunity to speak to Brian at the recent Grappler’s Quest 2013 US National Championships on July 20, 2013 in Morristown, NJ about how Grappler’s Quest started, his own personal journey in martial arts, and where he sees the sport and his brand going in the future.
Brian started Grappler’s Quest as a senior project in college in 1998 when he saw there was a need to have a local grappling tournament. In 1999, Grappler’s Quest held the first amateur exclusively nogi tournament in the world. Grappler’s Quest was also the first organization to run a US national event (since 2000).
Grappler’s Quest is a labour of love for Brian. He talks passionately about how every sport needs amazing, independent organizations that are free from the control of a governing body, and he believes that Grappler’s Quest fills that spot in the grappling world. To Brian, Grappler’s Quest belongs to the people that support it – the competitors. It is the human support that drives Brian. As he says, “Grappler’s Quest is yours”