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Muscle Sport Magazine

UFC/StrikeForce/IFL Veteran Niko Vitale Drops Down To Welterweight Division

After more than a decade in mixed martial arts, veteran fighter Falaniko “Niko” Vitale(28-9; 16 submissions, 8 T/KOs) is ready to make one more run at a world championship. In order to do this, the Hawaiian warrior is planning on dropping weight for the first time in his career to compete in the 170-pound welterweight division.

After his recent X-1 middleweight title defenses over Kala Hose and Kalib Starnes, Vitale is ready for a big step up in competition – namely, he would like a rematch with current Strikeforce middleweight contender Jason “Mayhem” Miller or a fight with current Strikeforce world champion Nick Diaz. In fact, Vitale is ready to take on all challenges: “I would really like to take on all challengers at 170 and 185 pounds,” he said.

Having competed as high as 205 pounds, Vitale has decided to cut weight in order to compete in the middleweight and welterweight divisions. Vitale plans on coupling his brute strength with the speed of a 170 pounder: “I feel just as strong at 170 pounds as I did when I was 205lbs,” Vitale said.

Stars MMA, Vitale’s current management agency, is in negotiations with top MMA organizations in order to secure a multi-fight contract, which will allow him to pursue his goal of taking on elite fighters.

Niko Vitale is an experienced jiu-jitsu practitioner and wrestler who represents 808 Top Team, one of the toughest fight gyms in Hawaii. The pride of the Aloha State has appeared in major promotions such as the UFC, Strikeforce, International Fight League, King of the Cage, Rage in the Cage, SuperBrawl, and Icon Sport. With 29 wins to only nine losses, Vitale’s record is a testament of his talents as a mixed martial artist, and he has showcased these talents in matches against Robbie Lawler, recent Strikeforce middleweight title challenger Jason “Mayhem” Miller, MMA pioneer Jeremy Horn, Strikeforce/UFC veteran Trevor Prangley, and UFC veteran Frank Trigg. As a recognizable name in the sport, Vitale has gained this admiration through notable victories over UFC veteran Aaron Riley, former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne, UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland, and UFC veteran Kalib Starnes.

On March 20,2010, Vitale defeated Kalib Starnes via submission to become the X-1 Middleweight Champion. In September, Niko defended his middleweight title at X-1: Heroes, where he submitted Kala “Kolohe” Hose via Ezekiel choke.

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For more information about Stars MMA or Niko Vitale please contact Stars MMA:

info@starsmma.com

415.421.6272 or 323.962.1800

23 Grant Avenue, 4th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94108

www.starsmma.com

Bio/Profile

Intro

Kulia i ka nu’u, strive for excellence, is a motto that Falaniko “Niko” Vitale models his life after. The pursuit of excellence occurs in all aspects of Vitale’s life, from being an attentive father to being a strategic submission and knockout practitioner in the cage. Vitale is a Hawaiian native, born and raised in Waipahu, Hawaii, and he is arguably one of the most revered Hawaiian fighters to date. The moniker, “The people’s champion,” expresses Vitale’s love for his community and Samoan heritage. This nickname also holds true because Vitale has expressed that he fights to make the lives of his family, friends, and community better off.

Personal Journey

Vitale learned at an early age that he excelled at sports, and he decided that it might be his ticket to success. While attending Waipahu High School, Vitale was part of the football, wrestling, and track teams. He excelled in wrestling, becoming an Oahu Interscholastic Association champ.

After high school, Vitale played football at Snow College in Utah for two years before returning to the islands. He returned home to attend the University of Hawaii, where he continued his football career for two more years. It’s important to mention that Brigham Young University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Kansas also recruited Vitale, but he decided to play for the University of Hawaii so his family would be able to witness his accomplishments. Vitale hoped to play professional football, but he was unsuccessful in his tryouts with the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, and a couple of Canadian teams. Niko played arena football for the Hawaii Hammerheads and Islanders before discovering MMA.

Vitale was 22 years old by the time he started training jiu-jitsu in 1997. Due to his extensive wrestling background, he excelled in the sport. After only two ears of training, Vitale won his first fight by TKO, in 1999.

Life as a fighter

Niko Vitale is an experienced jiu-jitsu and wrestling practitioner, who represents 808 Top Team, one of the toughest fight gyms in Hawaii. Vitale has had an illustrious mixed martial arts career spanning well over a decade, and he has appeared in major promotions such as the UFC, Strikeforce, the Fight League, King of the Cage, Rage in the Cage, SuperBrawl, and Icon Sport. With 29 wins to only nine losses, Vitale’s record is a testament of his talents as a mixed martial artist.

Vitale has showcased these talents in matches against Elite XC and Icon Sport middleweight champion Robbie Lawler, recent Strikeforce middleweight title challenger Jason “Mayhem” Miller, MMA innovator Jeremy Horn, Strikeforce/UFC veteran Trevor Prangley, and UFC fighter Frank Trigg. As a recognizable name in the sport, Vitale has gained this admiration through notable victories over UFC veteran Aaron Riley, former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne, UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland, and UFC veteran Kalib Starnes. On March 20,2010, Vitale defeated Kalib Starnes via submission to become the X-1 middleweight champion. Recently, Vitale defended his middleweight title at X-1: Heroes, where he submitted Kala “Kolohe” Hose via Ezekiel choke.

Marketable Opportunities

With a million-dollar smile and great physique, it’s hard to envision that Vitale is a professional fighter. Being a professional athlete who is constantly in the limelight, Vitale has developed great communication skills. He has showcased his talents on a recent episode of Hawaii Five-0, entitled “Ko’olauloa.” He appeared in two scenes as one of the lead character’s bodyguards, and he anticipates several more cameos on Hawaii Five-O in the coming months. His demeanor, physical tributes, and experience truly make Niko Vitale a mass marketable athlete.

About STARS MMA
The Mixed Martial Arts division of the almost 30-year old San Francisco-based talent agency, STARS the Agency, STARS MMA is dedicated to advancing and preserving the sport of mixed martial arts through full agency servicing and leveraging the current commercial rise of mixed martial arts and its athletes into other mainstream opportunities.  STARS MMA seeks to provide MMA athletic talent inroads into television, film, commercial/print advertising and modeling prospects.

For more from STARS MMA, visit www.starsagency.com, or follow us on Twitter (@StarsMMA) and Facebook (facebook.com/StarsMMA).

About STARS the Agency
STARS the Agency, now celebrating over twenty years in business, is a full service talent agency located in the heart of downtown San Francisco.  STARS, which has consistently enjoyed the reputation as one of the largest, most successful and respected agencies in the world, provides a comprehensive list of services, representing men, women and children for on camera, voice-over and theatrical work and screenplay writers. The agency is state licensed, a member of the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) and franchised by the performers unions including American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Actors Equity Association (AEA), Directors Gild of America (DGA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA). Although Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has not had a franchise agreement with agents since 2001, STARS continues to provide talent with opportunities to audition for and book SAG work.

STARS the Agency is recognized worldwide in Europe, Asia and Australia, providing numerous international opportunities for its talent.

Photo courtesy of Stars MMA

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