Mick Cutajar


Mick Cutajar, Mixed Martial Artist

Mick Cutajar official website

Mick Cutajar and Russell Crowe


Article

It's London or bust for former jailbird Mick - 10th May 2009
(Credit: Fairfax)

Working out at the gym was my saviour but the old jail gym was a very, very intimidating place. One day I was in there doing a workout with Ivan Milat. He was a good training mate, and we were halfway into our session when two guys walked in with a metal pole. It was made from a bed leg but they had reworked it into a kind of syringe - a metal pole inside a metal pole. They rammed it into the side of another guy's head. He had been using the lateral pull-down just next to me. The weights crashed back to base, and Ivan and I just looked at each other. We were covered in thick, sticky blood. The guy was stretchered out of the gym, his exposed brain still pulsing. Nothing came of it. We finished up our training for the day but I knew I would be back as soon as the mess was cleared up. I had an Olympic dream to train for.'

Two Worlds: A Journey To Prison And Back

MICK CUTAJAR was robbed of his Olympic dream. But there was a time when he was the one doing the robbing.

Like the time he swiped $39,000 in a bungled armed robbery in a scene that could have been taken straight from Underbelly. Cutajar was following a dream then, too. There was a chance to become one of the first Australians to feature in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, the mixed martial arts craze that has grown into an American phenomenon. The only problem was that Cutajar didn't have the money to get to the US. His solution was to don blue contact lenses and a balaclava before raiding an armoured car. Two security guards approached. This is almost where the Mick Cutajar story ends.

"If they'd have got their pistols out, I would have been dead," Cutajar deadpanned. "So I knocked them both out."

Eventually, he found the money he was looking for in an office upstairs. To this day, Cutajar swears he wasn't packing a weapon, relying only on the moves that made him a judo, ju-jitsu and cage-fighting champion. For five months, the dough - the security company claimed the sum was $120,000 - was stashed in the bottom of his training bag. But when he was busted for the crime, after his then-girlfriend dobbed him in, he was charged with armed robbery.

It should have been the end of Cutajar's sporting career. Sharing a cell with Ivan Milat has a way of doing that. But in his three years behind bars, Cutajar was driven by two sporting ambitions - to play first-grade rugby league and to represent Australia in judo at the Olympics.

It gave him something to aspire to amid a backdrop of bashings, rapes and hangings, which he says were a regular occurrence in the slammer. From 1995-98, Cutajar did time with some of the most notorious figures in Australian history. Pedophiles. Rapists. A cellmate busted defrauding $130 million. Milat.

"He wasn't the worst bloke in there," Cutajar said of the serial killer Milat.

He tells the story of another cellmate was routinely bashed while the guards looked away. It happened a lot in Long Bay Jail.

"As soon as the door opened, the screws would turn around and someone would run in and flog the crap out of him," he said.

Cutajar himself was often targeted, by prisoners and guards. On one occasion, he was bashed by officers, and spent a month in confinement. All of his letters to friends and family were screened, so he he taught himself to write in Aramaic from symbols in an encyclopedia. He hid his prison diaries in a garden bed, much of the contents scrawled in the ancient hieroglyphic language. You can never be too careful.

More than a decade later, he can still get skittish.

"Even when I first met [wife] Stacey, her daughter used to get up to go to the toilet," Cutajar said, making the shape of a gun with his fingers.

"I don't trust many people.

"At Bathurst [jail], people would rush you at night and try to bash you. I was still ready for that when I got out.

"For years I wasn't able to sleep with the door closed, I'd wake up at the first sign of noise. I used to sleep with a handgun or a blade at the edge of my bed."

The atmosphere might not have been conducive to training for an athletic career, but Cutajar excelled. He was a star for the prison rugby league team, the Malabar Sharks, and even trialled for a contract for the Parramatta Eels. But just as an NRL career appeared a distinct possibility, the big backrower suffered a horrific broken leg during a prison game. Prison officers refused to give him proper medical treatment, and he was illegally transferred from prison to prison. Football career over.

"I went in for a $40,000 armed robbery. I sued them for $90,000 and won," he said. The Wollongong product also came agonisingly close to his Olympic dream. A Games appearance was going to be the ultimate redemption, a chance to remembered for something other than a moment of madness 14 years ago. Cutajar controversially missed out on the final spot in the Aussie judo team for Beijing, selected instead as the first reserve. But moments after compatriot Matt Cellotti lost his first judo match of the Games, it was revealed he was facing a Nick D'Arcy-style assault charge in Melbourne. Celotti was immediately kicked out of the Olympic village and sent home in disgrace. Cutajar was devastated. He was the man who should have been there.

To make matters worse, his non-selection cost him close to $80,000 in sponsorship. And the matter might not be over. Cutajar claims that the Judo Federation of Australia knew about Cellotti's court case, and is considering legal action. However, JFA secretary Stewart Brain denied the organisation had any prior knowledge of Celotti's assault charge.

The dream isn't over for Cutajar. Even though he will be 43 come the London Games, he is adamant he'll be there. "Hell yeah," he said. "I've been training in judo for 34 years. There's nothing to say that I can't do it at my age. The only thing that could stop me is if I don't have the sponsorship I need to get there.

"People ask me, 'What it was like missing out in China?' In the end, it won't matter when I make it next time."

Even if he doesn't make London, Cutajar has changed his life since he got out. He's changed the lives of other people as well.

He owns a judo gymnasium in Wollongong. And completed university degrees. He's written an instructional judo book featuring 2475 photos over 475 pages. He's lectured drug addicts and others who were bound to re-enact his mistakes. He's given the unemployed a second chance through a Centrelink-funded sports coaching program. And made cameo acting appearances in everything from Neighbours to Underbelly. On the day The Sun-Herald sat down with him, Cutajar was in the middle of choreographing and starring in an action scene for the sequel to the Spartan blockbuster 300.

But no Hollywood tale is likely to match the one about the Grace Bros model turned convict. The guy whose first romantic relationship after doing time for armed robbery was with a bank clerk. And yet after cataloguing all of the brutality and depravity of jail life in a tell-all book, biographer Robyn Morris insists that, at its core, Cutajar's tale is a love story.

"My dad once said to me that you're a man that will get what you want late in life," Cutajar said.

Maybe he was right.

 

2008 News

Press Releases

22nd March 2008

Results of the 2008 OLYMPIC selection (on stand by as reserve)

The 2008 OJU Olympic selection for the Australian Judo team was finalised on the 21st Mach in NZ Christchurch. Olympic hopeful and Illawarra martial arts champion Mick Cutajar contested the under 100kg division against the Oceania best athletes also trying to qualify. The division was a cutthroat on the points for both Mick and fellow Australian Matt Celotti from Victoria with the inclusion of the current world cup champion Andrew Pragnell & Jason coster both from NZ standing in there way.

The draw consisted of 8 players and draws were handed out the day before with Cutajar securing a good place in the first round against Eric Jose from Guma throwing him with ippon in 1min 30 sec to move into the 2nd round.

Cutajar had hoped that both Celotti and Pragnell would suffer losses in there first round to keep them out of reach for Olympic points, both players won there round 1 moving to the 2nd round where Cutajar caused the biggest upset of the contest by beating current NZ national champion and current world cup champion in what was one of the most physical bouts of the day with both players exchanging hard attacks, Cutajar said “ Pragnell is in the top 15 in the world and is a very strong physical player he causes players to panic, at one stage he attacked me so hard we both flew off the mat and into the big TV screen score board causing it to smash, after this it was time to lift it up a notch and with this I was able to counter him with a leg reap to land on top of him then to hold him down to win the fight and move to the final and play off for the gold medal and Olympic selection.
With celotti wining his 2nd round now moving to the final to also contest the gold. Cutajar said that for the 4hr break from his last fight he had plenty of time to weigh up all the training and all the possibilities that lay ahead. He said “ without a doubt so much was running through my head, this was it this was the final of all finals, I can go to the Olympics”

The first few seconds was a test of strengths with Cutajar securing a yuko (6pts) first, causing Celotti to pick it up a level, they exchanged attacks and counter attacks for almost 1min 30 sec, with Celotti securing a 5pointer against Cutajar who stepped out side the mat area, but still leading, then both attacked a gain with Celotti getting an inside leg to throw Cutajar who turned in mid air to counter, but was to late having 8pts scored against him, now Cutajar was forced to play catch up for the last 1minute as several strong attacks were blocked and Cutajar losing the gold medal to place 2nd in the Oceania and 2nd in the Olympic selection.
Cutajar said after the fight, Mat is a great young player, he forced me to conseed the penalty, I did my best against the best that were in the running for the Olympic team, I Played my best judo I have ever played and at the same time gained the respect of the judo world, these guys are aged between 20 & 28 years of age. I have sealed a reserve position if anything happens to Mat and he is unable to compete I will be included in the Olympic team. I though being my birthday it would happen but the better player won, it was the most technical, physical judo I have ever played.

For the future, Cutajar also said that after placing 2nd at Olympic selection he had created history (coming from prison to make the final qualifying event for the Olympic games) and having spoken to several senior members had only reinforced his decision to rest up from the international level until the end of 2010 where he will be ready to retrial adding this would only be possible if financial backing was made available and would consider any offer that would be placed before him adding its not out of my reach I just need people to believe in me and help me.

 

Press Release

In a press release speaking from a dinner function held at Dapto show ground, for the Soccer season opener, attending as a special guest (along with other sporting identity's) and wearing his beloved Rabbits shirt, Mick Cutajar was speaking on the eve of the week he leaves for the Oceania Judo championship, which is held in New Zealand Christchurch march 20th – 23rd, this is a very important event, as this is the final selection to qualify for the 2008 Australian Olympic Judo team, less then 5days away

The past few weeks have been a mixed series of events firstly missing both the Act international & Syd open in February due to illness, training was to continue if he was to make any chances for selection. With a win in last Sundays march 3rd NSW selection event for the Australian Judo Nationals 2008, this was a much needed event to relax and release some tension.

The training is now complete and we will be hoping that a good result will follow, I have been lucky enough to have good people working with me, pushing me and backing me. The professional financial assistance alone has made this final leg worth the hard work, Local companies such as K&R FABRICATION, COASTLINE BRICK LAYING, CBC CONSTRUCTION, ALLMEN INDUSTRIAL & DOWN UNDER SAFETY have opened up the door to what is normally unobtainable, with out them I would not have created history. remember there was a great deal of people who would not even look at me, (now they should be ashamed of them selves) but for the very few and I do mean very few,...a very BIG thank you

The Australian Team has been the strongest its been in years with the inclusion of some very talented athletes, when asked if he knew his opponents ?,

Mick said,."I do know my opponents, VIC Matt Cellotti (current JFA national champion), QLD John Brendecke, NZ, Andrew Pragnell, (current OJU world cup champion & who leads the points for selection), Jason Koster, & Scott Bade, then there will be players from FIJ, Guna, Tonga. It all comes down to winning a medal and hoping that the players from NZ don’t place. All of these guys are professional athletes you just don't take for granted who or what they are, they are here to do the same thing as me,...and thats to qualify. Mick is the current (3 x time Kodokan National champion)

What do I expect?,... The contest level will be very hard and powerful, there will be upsets and triumphs its all apart of the road to the Olympics, each player will have their own story of this road. The past few weeks have been filled with mixed moods, change in sleep patterns, in meals, in my personal life alone I have had to not be the social butterfly I normally am, its been very trying for my family who have had to try to adjust to what its like at this point in time for me, so much has been put on the line.

People are not aware so much can happen for my personal life if I am lucky to succeed and move forward to the next level of my life. Either way I have achieved so much and with this, a lot of support towards getting me to this point.

I have already created Australian history (due to my past) by qualifying for the last major selection in such an event, an event that brings the world as one its an amazing feeing right now, my main job is to qualify the rest will happen I am happy with what i have already completed.

My division will be played on Good Friday, a day after my birthday (25 again) so I hope that its my time

When asked the question of what if,..NO selection!. Well i think we will wait until next Friday, however I will sit down and weigh up what it would be, as far as financial availability for me to contest the 2012, its not out of my reach its money thats out of my reach,.lets face it I'm 39 now, look what Ive achieved with limitations, then imagine what i could achieve with full backing for that 2yr period from 2010-2012, but we will wait and see.



Article

Cutajar misses Games team, by Chris Roots - 27th March 2008
(Credit: Illawarra Mercury)

Wollongong's Mick Cutajar came within one fight of making the Australian Olympic judo team at the Oceania Championship in Christchurch last weekend.

The 39-year-old went down in the 100kg final to Victorian Matt Celotti, losing the opportunity to be one of the biggest stories at the Beijing Games.

Cutajar has turned his life around since being the cell mate of serial killer Ivan Milat in Long Bay Jail, where he spent three years as "a young bloke" on an armed robbery charge.

He has since become a family man and completed a degree at Wollongong University and is already targeting the 2012 London Olympics.

"I had five hours between the rounds and the final to think about things - all the things I have done and how hard I had worked to get to where I was," Cutajar said.

"It's not the end for me because a lot of people get this close and then go on to represent at the next Olympics"

Cutajar had beaten New Zealand's World Cup champion Andrew Pragnell during the rounds in a major upset and took an early lead in the final.

But Celotti forced a penalty on Cutajar then scored an eight-point throw to take a lead the Wollongong warrior could not peg back.

"Matt is a great young player and he forced me to concede a penalty," Cutajar said. "I did my best against the best that were in the running for the Olympic team, but the better man won on the day.

"I have sealed a reserve position and if anything happens to Matt I will be included in the Olympic team.

"I'm not going to retire because I have proven myself against the best now and I feel like I'm still improving."



2007 News

Mick Cutajar is now represented by Mediaman

November 2007 - Mick Cutajar finished third in his division at the 15th Osaka international goodwill contest at the Ancient Osaka Castle in Japan

November 2007 - South Sydney Juniors officially sponsor Mick Cutajar

Watch footage and promos of Mick's matches and story on YouTube

Follow the Mick Cutajar journey via the Mick Cutajar official web blog

Mick Cutajar official website

Articles

Mad Mick on road to redemption - The Daily Telegraph - 17th November 2007

Cutajar happy with Osaka third - Illawarra Mercury - 28th November 2007

Profile

(Credit: XFC)

Name: Mick "CUTTA" CUTAJAR

Hails From: Woolongong, NSW

Height: 182 cm / 6'

Weight: 100 kg / 220 lb

Discipline: Judo / Muay Thai

Team: CUTTA's submission fighting

Trainer: Brett HARRIOT / Silver Thai

Record: win: 8 - loss: 3 - draw: 0

Titles/Accomplishments: Mick is a superstar of Australian MMA. His domestic achievements include a win over Dave FRENDIN and a brutal Knockout over the very highly touted Al REYNISH fresh off a TKO win over Elvis SINOSIC. Mick is also a superbly credentialled international judo player having won Australian, European and Japanese titles. He is a current 3rd dan black belt and is a member of the Malta Olympic team. Current #1 Heavyweight contender.

 

My Judo

My Judo has become a way of life not only to me but also to those around me. The foundations were set from a very young age through to growing up 'My Judo' is something that will guide you throughout your life.

For years now I have tried and tested many techniques. To my mind this is what makes a well-rounded judo player. You must be able to visualize the techniques firstly and then, to apply them in a practical manner.

This is not a beginners training book, commonsense and the correct guidance are the essentials of learning these techniques, as most of the techniques shown in this book can be used in all martial art type sport such as judo, striking jujitsu and full submission no rules contests. However, some techniques are forbidden in competitions and randori (training).

Judo has that right to be fully experienced by all who wish to learn. We as coaches, trainers and instructors must maintain the roots of our sport so that Professor Jigoro Kano's art is not lost because of contest rule changes and restrictions that limit the full flow of Judo in its natural sense. It is incredible how many other martial artists have copied Jigoro Kano's deadlier moves and renamed them. Today Judo is the pre-eminent Olympic / Martial Art Sport.

Counters and Combinations are hard to come by so I hope you enjoy the few techniques that may entice you to be creative in your own development and continue your quest to learn and achieve your goals as a practitioner of the magnificent art of Judo.

Michael Cutajar
BSC Psychology Major
Traditional Training coordinator
San Dan


Introduction to Biography "Two Worlds"

"Two Worlds" tells the astounding story of Mick Cutajar a young boy initially afraid of the dark to his journey into the dark world of Security, Personal protection, Debt collection leading to a three-year jail sentence for armed robbery. This was where he learned to inhabit a new world which eventually aided him to be become a human being concerned with helping others in countless endeavours.

This man was transformed to a new world of University Psychology Tutor; World-class award winning Martial Artist and Specialist for special Interest group.

"Two Worlds" blends electrifying tales of fact and fiction, photography and anecdotes about those who knew the specialist who inhabits two worlds.


PREVIOUS MEDIA APPEARANCES
TV FILM RADIO
All Saints. Mission Impossible 1 and 2. ABC. I 98 FM Illawarra Neighbours Blue Murder Wave FM Illawarra Headlands Australian Film Fight (offered me a position as
Numerous interviews: Specialist Martial Art Choreography)
Prime Capital & WIN Wollongong.

ADULT CONFIDENCE AND DEVELOMENT COURSES currently running
1. Life Without Barriers
Autistic Association group of NSW. Teaching personal self defence, coordination, motivation & reduction ob weight.

2. Stranger Danger for Kids
Sports Judo and danger awareness, control anti social behaviour, increase motivation & confidence lectures and techniques.

3. Training self-defence and confidence for adults.
Specialising in obesity control, exercise management, personal heath responsiveness and affirmative social conduct.( Wollongong; Sydney; Gold Coast and Southern Highlands.)

4. Free School training and social behaviour management.
Specialising in psychology applied awareness control and direction. Developing confidence and social responsibility through a series of physical exercises.

5. Devised "PSRP" Personal Safety & Risk Prevention.
This is a unique program for employees of eg: NAB; COMMONWEALTH BANK; STATE EMPLOYEES and CBD workers. It takes place at their respective place of employment and runs
once a week for six weeks creating confidence and self defence techniques whilst at work, walking to and from work and travelling home on public transport.

Mick Cutajar's sporting / achievements record
· Current world cup Ju-jitsu gold medallist 2006 & National grand champion for 2005-06
· Current Australian Judo Team member for the 2006 Oceania championships (Tahiti)
· Australian Kodokan Judo Champion 2005 u/100kg o/100kgs
· Oceania World Cup Judo championships 3rd place (05)
· Became the first person in Australia to complete Diploma level in Martial Art from the International Collage of Kenshusei, Melbourne. Allowing me to now run Austudy approved martial arts career training for youth, Pensioners, school leavers, long term unemployed & security personal.

Total history of each art
In April of 2001, I was selected to represent the Malta Olympic Committee in the small nations games which were held at San Marino in may2001. I competed in, Malta winning the selections, Italy where I won sliver, San Marino where I won bronze, training camps were also held at Geneva & Rome 2001

Judo
30 years in judo 3rd Dan, Senior Coach & examiner. I was a member of the Malta Elite National Player's Team 2001. & now apart of the Australian Judo Team 2006
Winner of gold silver & bronze medals at Invitation Internationals QLD. VIC. NSW, 93 94, 99, 2000. Olympic trials 1988, 1992 4th. Oceania games 6th.
Country champion in 3 divisions for 3 years, winner of 25 state titles.
Australian judo champion university games 2000,2001,2003. (this is the 3rd gold out of the 6 medals won by me for the University of Wollongong).
Finished,2nd in the Geneva international 2001, finished 3rd in Small nations games 2001 representing the Malta Olympic Committee.
Australian Kodokan Judo champion 2002, 2nd & 2 gold in 2003, silver 2004. Gold u/100kgs & vet gold 2005
Pan Pacific 2002 -04 Internationals gold in the u/100kgs 2nd,0/100kgs.
2003 Masters games 1st u/100 & 2nd in the open. Australian representative at the Osaka International Judo championships 8th

Training camps at the AIS Canberra 88, 91, Colorado springs 91, Italy 2001, Malta 2001, Geneva 2001& San Marino 2001.
Pangration, 6th Dan, Senior Coach & examiner .Australian champion 2000, 2001,2003.
Winner of the A.P.F player of the year 2001, 5 gold's state titles,
2nd in the world titles Greece 2000,
1st in the world titles selection u/100 & open.
Was selected to represent Australia at the 2003 world titles in Greece September 03.

Goshin-jitsu Judo: 2nd Dan, Senior Coach & examiner 5 gold, 2 silver. ISKA world cup Ju-jitsu gold medallist (1999,2000,2xgold in 2003)
Player of the year 1999. ISKA National & NOW world cup jujitsu champion

Ultimate fighting (vale tudo rules) NO RULES undefeated champion Heavy weight champion 1999-2004 including fox fights.11 win 3 loss 10 by KO, Australian rep, in Japan, Greece, Korea and New Zealand, Queensland.

Websites

Mick Cutajar official website

XFC

Interviews

Mick Cutajar - 29th January 2007

Greg Tingle, Mick Cutajar and Keith McCraw (Souths Juniors - 26th March 2007)

Mick Cutajar and Keith McCraw

Mick Cutajar, Russell Crowe and Keith McCraw (Telstra Stadium)

Mick Cutajar achieved 3rd place in the Japan Cup, November 2007

Stacy Cutajar, Mario Fenech and Mick Cutajar (South Sydney Juniors 2008 Ball)

 

News

Mediaman and South Sydney Juniors facilitate a meeting and handover of the Jack Gibson Shield at Telstra Stadium

Cutajar speaks at the Maroubra Youth Drug Forum to a packed room of 200 plus people.

Cutajar to train South Sydney Juniors players in The Grapple Tackle

Cutajar makes Australian 2008 Olympics Team as reserve

Cutajar secures online advertisers and affiliates for official website

Media includes

The Sydney Morning Herald

Ilawarra Mercury

The Daily Telegraph (including front page)

ABC Radio

The Southern Courier

Profiles

Martial Arts

XFC

Judo

UFC

Full Contact Fighting

Olympic Games

Souths Juniors