Mixed martial artists are modern-day gladiators

By Kevin Fuller

Don Carlo-Clauss punches people in the face for a living.

Carlo-Clauss, a Greece native, is a fighter. He’s a professional mixed martial artist — a modern day gladiator.

The collegiate-wrestler-turned-professional fighter now lives in Ithaca where he trains and helps other up-and-coming fighters. He spends his days sparring and rolling around on mats in hopes of being the best the sport has to offer.

“I get to wake up every day and do what I love,” said Carlo-Clauss, who is 30.

Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, and Carlo-Clauss is among many athletes who are climbing the ranks in this widely popular sport.

Fighters use various skills from karate, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, judo and any other form of martial arts to either knock their opponent unconscious or inflict enough pain to make them flat-out quit in the middle of the fight. Fights last for three 5-minute rounds. Championship bouts are five 5- minute rounds.

Carlo-Clauss was a two-time state champion wrestler at Greece Olympia in the 140-pound weight division. He took his skills to Division I after graduating from Greece Olympia in 1998, competing for the University of Virginia. His collegiate career didn’t go as planned. “I definitely fell short of my goals as far as wrestling went,” said Carlo-Clauss.


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