Mick Cutajar, Judo champion, mixed martial artist,
- 29th January 2007
Man Australia interviews one of Australia's greatest
athletic success stories and a man who has overcome
insurmountable odds. He is the #1 contender in Xtreme
Fighting Championships and one of Australia's finest
are the highlights of your person and professional
of my personal life, well I guess being able to overcome
the most difficult time of my life when I went to
prison for 3 years, this was a new real world that
really does exist. Don't be fooled by the TV shows,
its real, sometimes its very hard to be normal, to
have emotions at the right time for the right reason,
I still have this problem, trusting people is not
easy for me, and those who have met me will know.
Not forgetting with success comes failures also, closely
followed by personal success.
had my set goal made up whilst in jail, I had lost
my company which was as a body guarding and security
with clubs and pubs, (not to lock up people), I had
to get out seek employment, better my sport, better
my education and try to lead a normal life. As the
information states in The Weekender that you have,
I was set in my ways completing University with a
degree majoring in Psychology was something huge.
I have had the critics who kept trying to stop me
from graduating or those who I thought were friends
who kept commenting and saying to stop its not worth
it, you'll never amount to anything, these are the
ones who motivate me the best, the do gooder's, the
perfect person who can do no wrong.
completed something that would make me a better person,
that would make me better understand that what I did
do happen for a reason, it made me appreciate what
I had, what I wanted and who was there for me for
wife and her kids didn't go through this (jail term)
with me, but are on the tail end of lost emotions,
they are stuck with my stubbiness way's, they are
learning as I am, they are a personal achievement
in my personal development to become a better person.
In all I think that from where I have come from to
where I am have been a high for personal self.
of my professional life, or stepping stones to a highlight
have come at the expense of full-time employment,
I guess that making a choice and sticking with it
is the professional in "professional life",
Mick Cutajar is the product, the product has many
branches that extends to teaching kids and adults
the basic in self-defence, from stranger danger to
self confidence, to personal training for fitness,
or I help businesses who are interested in tactical
side defence were I teach seminars, I give lectures
to Psychology students in goal setting and motivation.
To the main highlight is showcasing what I do, its
real, its easy, it's a way of life for me, "the
martial arts", being able to represent another
Country like "Malta', was huge, I did very well
on the international judo contest, living and breathing
every day for 3 months as a full-time athlete, I had
a car, a phone, a computer, a unit, I had everything,
having this made me want to try for Australia, I now
had the drive and the motivation.
(2nd) at world titles in Pangration 2000 was the start,
then the ISKA Jujitsu World Cup, then the 2005 Oceania
Judo world cup I placed 3rd, this event was my stepping
stone to getting back on the Australian Judo team,
(un-expected but good), this is now my aim which I
achieved in 2006 placing 2nd at the nationals behind
Martian Kelly (Olympian from 2004), then to Tahiti
with the Australian Team.
funny without the past I wouldn't have had a future
coming, without learning to do self-defence in the
first place I wouldn't have had the ability to become
a specialist in providing a specialist service in
which I'm highly qualified in and Internationally
known for. I have not reach my highlight yet, it's
near, but I've been fortunate enough to succeed in
the path to a real highlight.
is full contacting fighting, and
contact fighting is very old and here to stay. Today
it's known as extreme fighting, UFC, caged combat,
king or the cage pride, just to name a few. This type
of fighting is very old and extends back to the 50's
and 60's, most old traditional martial arts had the
same development, rivals from other arts challenged
each other with the winner taken control of the others
school, and also to show that one art was dominate
over the other. Rules include anything and everything
from all strikes to all locking of any joint, to all
strangles, but some had gentle mans rules "if
you can call it that" don't touch the eyes and
nuts, but anything else is allowed, this also included
no rounds or time limits this was good for sorting
out the makers and breakers.
world of no rules is very intriguing and a personal
test for any high-class martial artist.
One of my closets mates and trainers was always being
picked on out of our crowd which consisted of (Shannon
Taylor Boxing, Silver a Thai fighter and instructor,
Rod boxing / Thai boxing, and Brett Thai trainer mixed
fighter) Brett was the nicest guy until you pissed
off, he had this saying once when we were out and
a gang tried to jump us,
"OK MATE THE WINNER
GETS TO THROW THE LOSER OFF THE ROOF OF THE CAR PARK
(3 stories up), most guys stopped in there tracks
looked down then walked away, so this type of interaction
still exists today, its not the same as the old days
taking the club but still has the same effect, mind
you there are a few persons of interest I wouldn't
have mind throwing off the roof but that's another
makes your one of Australia's greatest?
guess in the early days of its international landing
to the world WOW promotions now UFC started show casing
its soon to be greatest event in the world for all
the world to see. The UFC 1, 2, 3 and 4 were the biggest,
meanest and most brutal of its introduction, from
this we seen the Shamrocks, the Gracie's, the Severn's,
then the nobodies, who were in just to fill the card
so these guys could show the world of their greatness.
I sent away my information to WOW got the reply and
was place on the waiting line (I still have the acceptance
letter from them). Australia was very new to this
sort of thing and it wasn't looked at to kindly, so
I was forced to take measures into my own hands to
raise funding leading to my extended holiday (another
story). Then in 1996 the UFC came to Darling Harbour,
the world of no rules landed. I was still on my extended
holiday when I send my application in for this event
of course the authorities from my accommodation wouldn't
let me go, thus new young Aussie's had a head start
on me, like Chris from Queensland, and Elvis who now
has competed in UFC thanks to me missing out.
released, I trained very long and hard with DJ and
Chuck (trainers) and was invited to the newly formed
RINGS no rules run by Australia's great Chris Hassman.
I was to fight Al Ryanish, he had previously smashed
the now Elvis of UFC, now just for the record to set
the night off, him being a cop and me a con motivated
me to knock him out with as Blitz Mag quoted "with
a punch that would have stopped a bull".
world of no rules in Australia was here and I proved
my while. The one I am most famous and recognised
for is the match between David Frendon and I, in 1999,
this was and still is the longest hardest and most
brutal no rules event in Australian history, the fight
lasted for 18 minutes, it had everything from the
good old days, thanks to QLD rules and the promoter,
I even invented the heal strike to the chest whilst
being leg bared, from this event which was stopped
and me declared the winner, the Australian no rules
changed people could see how judo is used just like
BJJ was in UFC, this made people think twice about
fighting me, so I was invited to fight I the caged
combat in NZ, a very tuff bunch, (the promoter still
owes me a few grand) they closed down and did the
runner, but not before I went through the line up
'all in under 2 minutes using the same moves. People
like this group are what make it bad for guys like
me who want the big shot. Now just for the record,
and all the lazy promoters who couldn't be bothered
to update the fight record. I have had 11 no rules
fight 3 loses (broken bones) and won 8 by KO. I held
the title from 1999-2004. I did win more after my
3 loses as anyone would.
to being in prison I was not allowed to enter the
states, even now Randy from UFC has advised me he
cannot spend the money for me to have a working visa,
thus ending my chances for ever competing in the UFC.
I've missed my chances now with them so that's that.
and when did you get into martial arts and later,
full contact fighting?
started as a young kid in 1976, first went to karate
with dad, but was too skinny and small, so he took
me to the judo school in Berkeley. There were over
80 students of all ages and mostly families joined
all their kids into judo at Berkeley. Judo was huge
when I was a kid, everyone did it.
I think it should be put in the education system as
a part of physical education just like other countries
have since the 50's & 60's, this would stamp out
any antisocial behaviours, plus assaults on teachers
it combats all obesity issues and its not discriminate
of size height weight or race or popularity unlike
netball and soccer / football, if your not in with
the good people or popular you have no chance, that's
30 years of judo, jitsu, Pangration and Thai training
as a coach / instructor you ask yourself what I teach,
will it really work in a real life situations I knew
it worked as a body guard but what if the other guy
was armed with the same knowledge as me, welcome to
no rules, and yes what I teach works bloody well,
ask the guys I've knocked out.
rules is a tester for any coach / instructor and personally
I would recommend that all should just try it once,
its not for everyone, but at least you had ago, we
are blessed with several promoters who will give new
guys ago. Ok some guys don't like getting hit in the
face, that's cool we have an official full contact
federation called Pangration spelt with a G not a
K, it's the official recognised federation that gives
young guys the chance to fight and build up to the
extreme level. If there isn't a Pangration school
next to you your school may be eligible to under take
RPL to become a recognised school for Pangration then
we can host as many contests as people like.
are some of the biggest challenges you have had to
is an easy one to answer, overcoming people who try
to close doors, try to make it difficult, try to stop
me from doing what makes me me, trying to get to those
whom are close to me by using rumours to upset them.
Entering University was a challenge one example, again
some do-gooder told me he didn't want my type at the
Uni, I could understand coming from jail, but hey
I want to learn, lucky for me I found a tape of that
conversation and reminded him of his place and where
he would end up, then I started University, lucky
biggest I think was being able to compete and be me,
Mick Cutajar and earn the trust of those who backed
me before I went to prison, this has been a hard road
but I think I've proved my point.
have cost me contacts that could have made my business
bigger, but some do-gooders never give up. This is
hard on my family, and people should learn to just
keep to themselves.
funny I met strangers for the first time and they
seem to remember what I did all those years ago but
could not remember me for wining the world title in
Pangration or world cup in jujitsu, or winning the
N rules title, these are small minded people who have
no life and have to take interest in others who do
have a life. Sad but at times it's a challenge.
heard so many stories of things I've suppose to have
done, and what's stupid whilst the person is standing
there spinning shit to another person I'm standing
there listening to it, and this idiot has no idea
its me he is talking about. I guess if they are talking
about me they are leaving someone else alone. Like
a lion my life is private and personal to some point,
and if anyone crosses that line, there is no crossing
back, I can take the bullshit stories I've had them
most of my life, crossing my family will not be tolerated.
led you to get your degree in sports etc?
Degree is a BSC majoring in psychology, the sport
side was just a subject. I guess whilst in prison
and out on works release at Meadow Bank Tafe I was
studying certificate in health and fitness when the
psychology side took to my liken, god I can remember
readying a sports psych book from start to finish
in 1 month, I knew right then what I wanted to do.
I knew that doing this would make me a better person
and would re-educate me to better understand other
and they way they say and do what they do, For my
sport I could become a much better athlete on a whole
new level. So I started applying to enter University
in 1998, then again in 1999 when I was accepted in
2000 and what was really good being aloud to do lectures
at the University as I was a champion in sport and
in overcoming problems by way of goal setting, thus
the teaching side of my business is now what it is
thanks to University and the handful of special people
who assisted me and gave me that shot.
is full contact fighting, and the martial arts world
in general, so political?
well it's in everything that has money to be made
and it will take it from you. Politics are what causes
sports, business and even companies to fold, politics
sadly are what makes a system where one can say what
they like and the other can say what they like in
the end it's a vote, it's a vote of what's good for
something, and lets face it, no rules is no rules,
there should be no politics with this sport, there
can be only one winner clear cut, that's it, you don't
like get out. Over the years MMA and MA alike have
had politics call the scores, or the points in decision
politics are used to get people started and piss each
no rules has clashed with politics this is one reason
I've stayed away, I've achieved what some can not
and I don't have to prove myself to anyone but if
I had to make any political bearing on the martial
arts MMA, I would like to see:
payments across the board on an equal such as fighters
who have between 0-5 get so much 6-10 another wage,
11-15 another payment and then after this you have
earned a right to have good money.
2) Fighter should be loud to fight for who ever when
ever if the promoter cannot offer them a good payment
with out the slagging or being black band. Example
I had one promoter call me up asking me to fight I
advised him of the fee, I was told no way I can get
a guy from the pub to jump in for a case of piss and
a trophy, funny this guy is not going too well now,
3) Look after the fighters and their health, for this
sport to grow we need to branch out, offer satiability.
4) Insurance cover to decrease for schools / instructors.
5) Compulsory training and education in this area
to lower any future risk of injury to any student.
I hate politics it takes the fun out of any sport
and pushes others right out.
media coverage have you attracted to date?
have been very lucky, our local media has been covering
my ventures since I was a teenager, so being in front
of a TV camera is normal to me. In Malta I was treated
like a professional star, appearances in sports interviews
sports papers, news papers. Blitz Magazine, Australian
Budo, Ralph Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Mercury,
have had coverage with TV stations such as WIN TV,
Prime, Capital, whilst I was in prison there was a
show like Sports Tonight which was aired during the
day at about 11 am if I can remember right, they came
to the Long Bay maximum and filmed some of us training
and working out, to this day I've not seen it but
have been told it has been on quite a few times.
are the positives about XFC, and what areas do you
feel that they could improve in?
has given new guys a chance to show case what they
have, but they are just a number of promoters who
do the same thing, make money, its good to have them
running they now bring overseas fighters here, wish
them all the best. What do they need to improve on,
firstly they can put the correct information about
me fight record that would help and then follow the
same information I stated in the political stuff.
Look after the fighters.
will the public see you competing next?
I am trailing for the 2008 Olympics in Judo, that
is my first and main priority at this stage, until
this is decided on or unless the money is worth it.
My judo has many contest in NSW, SA, VIC and overseas.
I know there are a lot of people who would like to
see me compete against David Frendon again in another
full No rules, yes I would do this but under the right
conditions agreed by just Dave and I, I think this
would be good for the sport. I would love this to
happen right here in Wollongong in a cage.
are your main sponsors and backers, and why are you
such a good investment?
am lucky I have had the support of some influential
people and their companies and businesses some have
been with me for 16 years. I don't think these sponsors
use me for investments as I've only completed some
personal services to 1 or 2 of them over the years,
I guess being personal friends had benefited me and
and R Fabrication of Unanderra
Coastline bricklaying of Dapto
CBC Constructions of Wollongong
Allmens Industrial of Port Kembla
Safety Down Under of Wollongong with john Danzo and
who have over the past have assisted me in achieving
my goals are DAA Consolidate of Wollongong, PNP Racing
Unanderra, RACEngineering of Dapto.
would like to offer and extend my experiences to other
companies / businesses who wish to become involved
with me and use me to help their staff with personal
development. Example, flight steward and their union,
want to better prepare their staff for close counter
control I will assist in this area. I can host a seminar
for your staff. Schools I can show students and provide
simple goal setting steps.
specialized skills have led to TV, films and the like.
What's the range of TV / film you have been featured
have been very lucky in this area over the past 16
years. I have featured in TV shows such as All Saints,
Blue Murder, Witchery, Headlands, Mission Impossible
1 and 2. I would like to do a more hands on role,
like fight scenes and take a part in a action role,
I think it would be huge and successful for any director
giving me the chance.
guess coming from my background (prison) and its sustained
difficulty surrounding this, I cannot rely on others
for employment that is stable and fulltime, I'm not
getting any younger so I need to become self motivated
to create my own employment that is rewarding and
I'm the one taking control. I love to travel and relax
you cannot do this without stability in your life.
I like to feel that I am successful at what I do,
providing training and education to other is a great
motivational tool this keeps me interested.
be your best and reach your goals, you learn from
your losses and accept defeat as a part of being or
becoming a champion.
does your family feel about your high risk occupation,
and what does their support mean to you?
risks come with limelight and what lady doesn't like
the limelight, in saying this my wife has mixed feelings
for what I do sometimes I can see its not her liking
but this is something I've done for over 30 years
something that I did before my family was a family
so accepting me is accepting all that I do. It nice
to have family support at times I thing the road to
success comes more easy this way if the feeling of
support is strong. You hear it all the time partners
not really into their partner's sport, then the road
to success slowly fades away, this is sad for any
family support could be, well I guess normal. As a
kid and into my 20's I had no family every see me
fight which was very strange all those years nothing
then my wife started it was a bit over bearing and
at times I don't want them there especially at the
no rules because you never know what injury you may
sustain, but support is a huge thing for any athlete.
My advise for loved ones and those wanting to support,
don't try to change the person to something that they
are not, accepting them for who they are and what
they do is the key to building a strong team, remember
its what they are, and do that attracted you to them
in the first place sit back and enjoy it.
the biggest misconception about you?
have a bad habit of judging me from something that
happened along time ago, I am human, its not like
I walk around with a trench coat balaclava and shot
gun. Judge me how you want to be treated.
do you do to relax?
love just laying at the beach and sleeping or surfing.
Riding my Harley with my mate and wife along the coast
road. I love the open doors with camping cooking snags.
Now I have step kids they do sports at times. I can
be a little embarrassing, excitement still hits me
good. I love my animals, what enjoyment they bring.
We go to the movies all the time when we head out
into the city (SYD). I guess I will get all the rest
I need when I'm dead.
note: as you have read, an amazing man and an amazing
athlete. Mick "The Cutta" Cutajar is going
right to the very top, and we here at Media Man Australia
are delighted to play a modest part in his ongoing
Cutajar official website
"The Cutta" Cutajar
Body and Spirit