EXCLUSIVE | Part 2: Nick “The Tooth” on BJJ, the growth of MMA, and literature

December 20, 2013 11:51 am by Brett Auten

If you thought Nick “The Tooth” Gullo was some hapless schlub who zip lines into Dana White’s pool from time to time, think again.

“The Tooth” is far from some Lebowski-esque character in the Gonzo world of the UFC.

A gifted photographer, videographer, a noted author and screenwriter, and a former lawyer, Gullo received a law degree and an MBA from Tulane University.

In Part One of his interview with BJPENN.COM, Gullo talked all about his new book, Into the Cage: The Rise of UFC Nation.”

In Part Two, “The Tooth” spouts lyrical on BJJ, the growth of MMA, and literature

Loves to roll
“I do a lot of jiu-jitsu. I do jiu-jitsu five, six days a week and I’m also fascinated with the evolution of jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu, at least in this country, is a fairly new sport … I belong with a very evolved sport jiu-jitsu school, Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy, it’s a sport jiu-jitsu school and it’s very, very advanced as far as sport jiu-jitsu. We don’t do any self defense jiu-jitsu … The discovery of jiu-jitsu, for me, is like if I give you a gift and you look at it and it’s something you cherish for the rest of your life, that thing for me is going to be jiu-jitsu.”

Gotta get ‘em early
“If you look at every other mainstream sport there is a similar structure that supports that sport and one of the structures that supports the NFL, or supports soccer, or supports baseball, is a very organized youth league. Those youth leagues just don’t breed athletes, more importantly they breed fans. To me, this is the biggest piece of the puzzle that’s missing. I still think a lot of groundwork has to be done. You get a lot of fans who go to the fights and when the fight is on the ground, they get frustrated. But people who train jiu-jitsu or watch MMA, they get it.”

‘We both got into some trouble; we both like to have fun’
“(Dana and I) knew each other in high school. Instantly, we hit it off. We hung around all the time. It’s hard to put into words why you have a friendship. We both got into some trouble, we both liked to have fun… He has changed with the pressures that come with running a business. He’s always been really good with people and that has never changed. He’s dealt with world class athletes for over a decade now, he has grown a business and a sport onto the world stage, and he travels all the time and he deals with all kinds of people so, of course, you’re going to change from that experience. He’s grown, that’s the only way he’s changed. He and I really don’t talk business or the fight game at all. That’s the last thing, in my mind though he’s never said it, that he wants to do when he step away from the game to let off some steam and then you have a friend who is like, ‘Dude, let’s talk about your business some more.”

Literature in MMA
“When it really enters the mainstream what you see is you start to have writers who take a more literary approach to writing about the sport and I had not seen that done for MMA. You have it done with boxing with Hemmingway, and with golf, and with baseball, and so you really hadn’t seen that, from a writing perspective, with MMA I was like, ‘hey, I can get in and get this done and be like one of the first. One of the greatest compliments I have had was Gareth Davies, he is a writer for the Telegraph, he called me after he read the book and he was like, you did it. ‘you’re the first one to write a literary book about MMA. I wish I did it. ‘And I was like, dude, that’s the biggest compliment I could receive because it’s from another writer who read it and understands that, wow, this is a completely different approach to anything I’ve seen in MMA.”

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