Superstar Coaches: Mark DellaGrotte
In the first of our new series on some of the world's leading coaches in combat sports, we take a look at Sityodtong's Mark DellaGrotte, a lifelong martial artist who eventually made his name as a Muay Thai stylist coaching MMA fighters. Style Known for his Muay Thai acumen. Background DellaGrotte had been brought up on an array of different traditional martial arts styles, and that was part of what he credits for his success in coaching MMA fighters. Whether it was karate, taekwondo, stick-fighting or full-blooded Muay Thai, the Bruce Lee inspired mantras of Jeet Kune Do always reverberated with him and made him realise the importance of cross-training. Much of that cross-training ethos was in bloom before MMA really took hold, but it made for an easy switch for DellaGrotte, accepting the need to train striking styles as well as grappling style and, most importantly, to move with the times and evolve as a coach in order to provide the right training for his students. "I don’t believe in just boxing or just muay Thai or just jiu-jitsu. I think all the arts create MMA, and if they’re not put together properly, the outcome won’t be the same." As well as being one of the rare certified coaches under the legendary Master Yodtong - who is credited as producing the most champions in Muay Thai - he is also graded in BJJ under Kenny Florian, his student and friend. DellaGrotte started his journey into Thai boxing around 1992 but cemented his status in the art by going to train and compete in Thailand in 1997. He really came to prominence when he was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 4 in 2006, which saw him working alongside Randy Couture, Georges St-Pierre and Marc Laimon. Notable Fighters Frank Mir, Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, Marcus Davis, Miguel Torres, Jorge Rivera Fight experience DellaGrotte has professed to not having a great number of fights, but competing in order to make himself a better coach. He also said he believes that students would have more faith in a teacher that had walked the path themselves to some degree. "I didn't want to be that instructor who was all theory and no practice," he admitted. "If the people you're trying to teach don't truly trust you, then you'll never reach them. You'll never touch that person." DellaGrotte cites no more than ten fights, most having taken place in Thailand with "a winning record". Though it's vague, he says he fought good opposition en route to gaining valuable experience. Interesting Fact DellaGrotte ran a pizza shop before giving it up to pursue a career as a martial arts coach. Favoured Equipment Mark Dellagrotte like many top American Coaches mainly uses REVGEAR equipment known in the USA for their quality, large inventory and durability. As a result in 2012 he joined the Revgear Coaches development team to aid in the testing and improvement of their pro lines. Footage You can find the Revgear MMA and Muay Thai equipment here.
- Jay Furness