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Fighter out to prove he is more than an Internet video sensation


Ray Kasprowicz

John Gettle lands a punch on William Kowolski at the Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships at The Orleans on Feb. 26, 2010.

Fight Facts

  • What: Tuff-N-UFF: The Future Stars of MMA
  • When: 7:00 p.m. Friday
  • Location: The Orleans
  • Featured bouts: Larry Mir vs Jimmy Jones - 145 pound title fight
  • Ashley Cummins vs Cathy Snell
  • Eric Kepper vs John Gettle

John Gettle breaks opponent's arm

When John Gettle broke the arm of William Kowalski in an amateur mixed martial arts fight in February, he received enough publicity to make him one of nation's most well-known fighters.

Footage of the brutal break racked up thousands of views on, and the gruesome clip was also replayed several television programs.

"I like Web Soup and I like Sports Soup. Those are shows that I watch and set my DVR for every week," said James Horne, Gettle's training partner. "And it was pretty funny to sit there and all of a sudden my best friend, my student on these huge shows on TV."

Gettle (3-0) will be back in action Friday at the Orleans Arena in a light heavyweight bout against Eric Kepper (0-1).

Gettle, a 24-year-old Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist, has a lot to live up to after the excitement of his victory over Kowalski.

"It's definitely one of the top 10 fight's we've ever had, maybe even top five," said Tuff-N-Uff President Barry Meyer.

Before Gettle could pull off his arm-breaking key-lock submission hold, he was brutalized by Kowalski's powerful striking.

But, as a sparring partner for former UFC champion Frank Mir, Gettle developed a talent for taking punches.

"When Frank was getting ready for [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira, they needed a guy somewhere around Noguera's size to go in there and throw some punches at him," Gettle said. "But I was pretty much a human punching bag."

Mir's training partners were impressed by Gettle's chin and encouraged him to begin a fight career himself.

"They were like, 'You're not getting knocked out when Frank hits you and there's no way a 205-pound guy at the amateur level is going to hit you even close to that hard,'" Gettle said.

Despite his potential, he initially passed on a fighting career because he was financially stable with jobs in construction and personal training.

But when the recession affected business, Gettle took it as an opportunity to pursue his dream.

"The housing market dropped off and after that I was like 'You know what, it would probably be a good time to move right now,'" he said.

Gettle moved to Las Vegas from Florida seven months ago to join Mir's Suffer Fight Team.

"Frank has been like a mentor for me for a little while," Gettle said. "From his philosophies on fighting, to the books he has given me to read, he has opened my eyes up to a lot of different things."

Gettle is starting to draw comparisons to his mentor, with his arm-breaking key lock on Kowalski reminiscent of Mir's bone-shattering arm bar on Tim Sylvia at UFC 48.

"He and Frank have definitely had a few words at the gym about whose arm break was better," Horne said.

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