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Ricco Rodriguez Bio
Ricco Rodriguez (born August 19, 1977) is an American mixed martial artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division. A professional competitor since 1999, he has competed for the UFC, PRIDE Fighting Championships,EliteXC, International Fight League, BAMMA, World Extreme Cagefighting, and Bellator. Ricco is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Mundials World Champion and also an ADCC World Champion. He is also the former King of the Cage Openweight Superfight Champion.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Mixed martial arts career
- 2.1 Ultimate Fighting Championship
- 2.2 Independent promotions
- 3 Boxing career
- 4 Other appearances
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Championships and accomplishments
- 7 Mixed martial arts record
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Rodriguez grew up in the projects in Paterson, New Jersey. He is of Mexican descent. Rodriguez wrestled at Tottenville High School while living in Staten Island, New York. He later moved to California and began training in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Rigan and Jean Jacques Machado. He competed and won many Jiu-Jitsu tournaments before moving on to mixed martial arts.
Mixed martial arts career
In 1997, Ricco Rodriguez became one of the small group of Americans to win a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, taking the Blue Belt Absolute title. He took gold in +99 kg in the first ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in 1998, bronze in the Absolute (open weight) division in 1999 and Silver in the +99 kg category in 2000. That same year Rodriguez began his MMA career with a win against Rocky Batastini. He won several of his first matches before losing to Bobby Hoffman at the Superbrawl 13 event in Hawaii. He later fought in the PRIDE Fighting Championship before moving on to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Rodriguez's first UFC match was at UFC 32 against future UFC Heavyweight Champion and #1 ranked pound for pound fighter in the world Andrei Arlovski which he won by TKO. He was scheduled to fight Lionâs Den fighter and owner of one of the most vicious knockouts of the time Pete Williams at UFC 33, but the fight was postponed until UFC 34 due to an injury suffered by Williams during training.
Rodriguez went on to beat Williams, Jeff Monson (UFC 35) and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (UFC 37) to earn a shot for the vacant heavyweight championship against future UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 39 becoming the first person of Puerto Rican descent to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Rodriguez was losing on the scorecard in the initial rounds. In the fifth round Rodriguez was able to achieve a ground-and-pound victory with a stoppage by verbal tapout. In his first title defense, he was knocked out by 6'8 up and coming striker Tim Sylvia in the first round, thus losing the belt.
Following the end of his UFC contract, Rodriguez fought for a number of regional and national promotions. He also gained a significant amount of weight, at one point weighing 350 pounds (160 kg). On July 22, 2006, in a rematch of their August 2005 bout in the WEC, he avenged a loss to Ron Waterman at WFA: King of the Streets. He fought as a superheavyweight, weighing in at 300 pounds (140 kg), and was quoted as saying "I'm fat but I still got skills."
Following his win against Imani Lee on November 17, 2006, Rodriguez was put under indefinite suspension by the California State Athletic Commission. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Rodriguez had tested positive for both marijuana and cocaine and was subsequently given a six-month suspension for the failed drug test.
On July 27, 2007, Ricco Rodriguez, in his first fight after his suspension, defeated Lloyd Marshbanks by first-round TKO at MMA Xtreme 13, which was held in Puebla, Mexico. At the IFL championship finals, he lost to "Big" Ben Rothwell by unanimous decision.
Rodriguez fought in the YAMMA Pit Fighting one-night heavyweight tournament as a late replacement. He defeated George Bush III in the first round by unanimous decision, but was beaten by eventual champion Travis Wiuff in the semi-finals by unanimous decision.
Ricco Rodriguez was scheduled to replace an injured Kevin Randleman in a rematch of their UFC 35 bout against Jeff Monson at the inaugural Godz of War show. That event was canceled, however, and the fight was rescheduled for the inaugural Mixed Fighting Alliance (MFA) event, which Rodriguez lost by unanimous decision.
At the 2009 ADCC qualifiers Rodriguez weighed in at a svelte 218 lb, down well over 100 lb from his peak in the mid-2000s. Rodriguez attributed his weight loss to a renewed focus and partnership with a new nutritional coach and long-time friend, Richard Sicola-Stone.
Rodriguez missed weight for his first attempt at fighting at 205 pounds at the inaugural Israel Fighting Championship event on Nov. 9. He still fought and won his fight over Daniel Tabera, however, and then promptly challenged his friend, Jeff Monson for a rubber match, to a fight at 205 pounds.
Ricco Rodriguez made his BAMMA debut facing The Ultimate Fighter 10 alumni and UFC veteran James McSweeney who was also making his debut for the promotion. Dana White has claimed if Rodriguez wins this bout he will consider resigning him to the UFC. Rodriguez missed weight for the fight, weighing in a full 2 pounds over the contracted 215-pound catchweight.
Ricco made his Bellator debut against the man who first defeated the internet superstar Kimbo Slice, Seth Petruzelli at Bellator 48. He lost the fight via KO (punches) in the first round after getting caught with an overhand right, and ending his 12-fight winning streak.
On April 15, 2013, it was announced that Ricco signed a 3-fight contract for Final Fight Championship. His first fight for the promotion was at FFC05: Rodriguez vs. SimoniÄ event on May 24. 2013, when he fought Slovenian TomaÅ¾ SimoniÄ. He won the fight via first round armbar.
On November 9, 2013, he lost to Denis StojniÄ on Bosnia Fight Championship event by TKO after an early referee stoppage. Rodriguez immediately stood up and protested the stoppage and left the fight showing the middle finger to the referee. It was announced that they would have a rematch in 2014, also in Sarajevo, however the day after the event, the referee said he was not up to the task and the fight result was changed to NC.
In his next fight, Rodriguez faced Nestoras Batzelas at Final Fight Championship 10 on December 13, 2013. He won the fight via TKO. He then faced Dion Staring for the FFC Heavyweight Championship at Final Fight Championship 17 on December 20, 2014. Despite coming out strong in the opening minute of the first round, Rodriguez would be dropped by a front kick from Staring midway through the first round and subsequently beaten up by ground and pound, and lost the bout via retirement TKO after failing to answer the bell for the third round.
Rodriguez made his professional boxing debut on October 12, 2006, beating 19-year-old Cruiserweight Brandon Baker by knockout. On July 8, 2008, Rodriguez fought his second professional boxing bout losing via split decision to Chad Davies, who came into the fight with a 0-1 record.
Rodriguez appeared in an episode of the History Channel series Human Weapon, in which he faced Bill Duff in a draw. He also appears in bonus footage of The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr DVD.
Rodriguez is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent. He has a daughter and one son.
Rodriguez has appeared on season one of the VH1 reality television show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which documented his struggle with substance abuse.
On March 5, 2013, Rodriguez, 35, was allegedly pulled over around 1:25 a.m. and was reportedly booked for misdemeanor DUI. According to the report, Rodriguez was released several hours later after posting a $5,000 bail and may protest the charge.
Championships and accomplishments
- King of the Cage
- KOTC Openweight Superfight Championship (One time)
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- UFC Heavyweight Championship (One time)
- YAMMA Pit Fighting
- YAMMA Heavyweight Tournament Semifinalist
- Ultimate Warrior Challenge
- UWC Heavweight Championship (One time)
- UWC British Heavyweight Championship (One time)
- ADCC 1998 Absolute Division - Gold Medalist
- ADCC 1999 Over 99 kg Division - Bronze Medalist
- ADCC 2000 Over 99 Division - Silver Medalist
Mixed martial arts record
- Professional MMA record for Ricco Rodriguez from Sherdog
- Professional boxing record for Ricco Rodriguez from BoxRec