Not your typical combat sports athlete
June 8, 2024 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Mikey "Darth Rigatoni" Musumeci is the current ONE Championship flyweight (135 lb) submission grappling champion, as well as a five time black belt jiujitsu world champion - but he probably doesn't match most people's mental picture of what someone like that looks like or acts like.

He's been open about his struggles with depression, how his ADHD affects his training, and his challenges 'fitting in' when growing up. He also has strong opinions on the widespread usage of steroids in jiu-jitsu, as well as his self-image as a 'nerd', disordered eating, and masculinity in martial arts (link has a login popup, but it can be closed after 5 seconds and the full article will load).

In 2022 he had a successful debut in ONE Championship, a Singapore based promotion that offers submission grappling in addition to MMA, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing. Some of his highlights there include submitting legendary grappler Shinya Aoki with a move that Aoki pioneered, avenging one of his only career losses last night with a calf slicer, and toying with Mark Zuckerberg as one might a small child.

His older sister Tammi has a lower public profile, but she's also a world champion in jiu-jitsu, and has recently joined her brother in ONE Championship - after a small detour to graduate law school.
posted by true (4 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I might be missing a stereotype here. To me he looks ripped, which seems pretty typical for combat sport athletes?
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 4:03 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]

Nice analysis of how Mikey entered his most recent finishing hold over on r/bjj:

1. closed guard, scoop the leg
2. invert to get both legs around the scooped leg (K-guard?)
3. it gets a little scrambly, he loses leg connection for a moment but re-establishes it using a deep elbow grip
4. gets the leg extended, rolls
5. goes for Achilles/ankle lock grip (not heel hook)
6. rolls again and starts attacking with the Achilles
7. Sousa uses his foot to strip one of Mikey's leg knot grips
8. Sousa turns his leg so Mikey has to sit up, but he doesn't yet got for the calf crush
9. Sousa tries some counters but Mikey is patient for the time to extract his left knee from the former leg knot and into the calf crush: I think he holds the victim leg in place with his right arm to do that *before* he takes the bodylock which secures the final finishing position
posted by daveliepmann at 1:32 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I don't get the "he's not what you'd think" angle because he looks exactly like what I'd picture a martial artist in that weight class would look like. I guess because he wears glasses and doesn't seem to have a lot of tattoos?
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:07 AM on June 10

My mental picture of what a BJJ champion looks & acts like is that they go for a takedown once in a while. I mean come on with all these guard pulls!

But seriously here are some submissions from championship fights in the lighter weight classes of MMA. (Though all these guys would outweigh Mikey by >10kg and, uh, may not share his stance against PEDs.)
posted by daveliepmann at 11:44 AM on June 10

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