Since his retirement over a year ago, Kurt Pellegrino has remained very low key and flies under the radar. He's put his fighting days behind him, and has been running his gym in New Jersey and doing what he loves best, being a family man. Lately though, another facet of Kurt has emerged, the MMA manager. With a very successful gym operation, and a wealth of fight experience under his belt, it seems to be a natural progression for him to guide other athletes in their budding careers. I spoke with him recently about entering the management arena.
Yep. I'm managing fighters now. I have a 6'7 Englishman named Liam McGeary, and he'll be fighting in Bellator on April 4th. He actually moved to New Jersey to train at my gym, and he's a beast.
I've got George Sullivan, too. He was always that person, sort of standing in the background, always that team player. 'Hey coach, i'll do whatever I have to do for the team.' That's George right there. Even though Greg Soto got that UFC call first, George Sullivan was always the better fighter from my gym. When Greg parted ways with us to go to another gym, he ended up having to fight George, and George went and knocked him out in like two minutes. I can't even take George down. He's a monster. He's also a great human being.He also just knocked out Julian Lane. He knocked him out so hard he didn't even know where he was.
I wrote to Joe Silva about George. Joe is a brilliant guy and an amazing matchmaker. When it's George's time, he'll be there in the UFC. I'm just hoping that it's his time today, because this kid is awesome.
I'm also managing some up and coming amateurs that will be making their mark soon. One is Chris Remedios, who will be fighting for a championship soon, and Kendrick Mendez, who's my 6'2 Mexican at 155, and he's awesome too. I definitely think they're gonna be the next standouts in the state of New Jersey.
There are a lot of dorks out there managing fighters. There are a lot of fighters that are dorks, too. They have this thing, 'I'm a UFC fighter, and I wear TapouT shirts, so that makes me so tough.' That's cool and all, but these kids think that training on the weekends makes them champion material. Then you have guys like George (Sullivan), who work hard, and manage to hold down a job and still trains for his dreams. That's how it should be. People should do it because they love to compete, not because they like to help people in the mall to buy a TapouT shirt.