MMA legend Frank Shamrock mentors Olympic hopeful Nick Delpopolo
With the 2012 Olympics on the Horizon MMA Legend Frank Shamrock Mentors #1 Ranked USA Judo Champion Nick Delpopolo
San Jose, CA – May 25, 2011 – It is no secret that MMA legend Frank Shamrock is an avid and life-long supporter of martial arts.
A champion in his own right, Shamrock gained a wealth of knowledge over the years by immersing himself in the sport as a fighter, commentator, and spokesperson. Shamrock also believes in investing in the sports future by mentoring athletes with the heart and potential to be the best in the world. Champions like Nick Delpopolo.
According to MMA Legend Frank Shamrock, “I was inspired by Nick’s story and his dedication to the art of Judo. His story resonated with me on many different levels. Both adopted and estranged from our biological parents, we found solace in a sport that we love. Judo is truly a part of who Nick Delpopolo is, just as much as MMA is a part of who I am. Nick is really making a name for himself in this sport. The sky is the limit for this kid. ”
Nick Delpopolo had this to say about Shamrock’s support, "Growing up Frank Shamrock was my idol. I never dreamed I would one day meet him, let alone have him personally mentor me as an athlete. The fact that he is in my corner couldn't make me happier. He is already passing on words of wisdom, encouraging me to train harder, and pushing me towards my goal of making Olympic history."
Olympic hopeful Nick Delpopolo (born Pero Perovic) was once an orphan with an uncertain future. He was born into poverty and lived the first years of his life in a small orphanage in Niksic, Montenegro. Dominic and Joyce Delpopolo adopted Nick when he was 21 months old and brought him to the United States to start a new life. It was there that Nick discovered Judo. He started training at the age of 5 under 1988 and 1992 Olympic Judo Coach Yoshisada "Yone" Yonezuka. Nick was a natural and one of the best that Yone had ever seen.
When Nick was eight he took some time off to focus on wrestling. Although he went on to win a youth NJ State title in wrestling, it was evident that Judo was Nick’s true passion. He returned to the sport when he was 12 and moved to NY to live and train with 1992 Olympic Silver Medalist Jason Morris. In high school Nick would return to wrestling one last time in an effort to earn a college scholarship. As fate would have it a severe knee injury ended his wresting career, steering Nick back to Judo, the sport that had always remained a part of him.
Nick currently trains in Boston under 1999 World Champion Jimmy Pedro, the most winning player in U.S. Judo history. Pedro is a 4x Olympian (2x bronze) and was heavily favored to be the first American to win Olympic gold in the 73kgs (161lbs) category, the same class in which Nick competes. Pedro's dojo is a U.S. National Training Center and home to TEAM FORCE, a team that consists of the best Judo players in the United States.
Shamrock had this to say about Nick’s passion for the sport of Judo, “When you see how intensely Nick trains and the fire in his eyes when he competes, it is evident that Nick has the heart of a champion. He has the raw skill and dedication that it takes to be the best in the world and I will do everything in my power to help him get there. Nick is the future of Judo and I take great pride in mentoring him.”
The Twenty-two year old USA Judo athlete is currently ranked #1 in the United States and #16 in the world. In 2009 Nick Delpopolo was only positioned at #99 in the world rankings. In 2010 Nick took the Judo world by storm and moved up an incredible 83 spots, rising to #16 in the world by years end. He took Gold at the US Open, Venezuela World Cup, and El Salvador World Cup, Silver at the Samoa World Cup and USA Judo Senior National Championships, and a Bronze at the USA World Cup and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing 2010 as the top medal winner in his division.