Monday, July 14, 2008

“Different”: Meet Dale Hartt

By Tim O’Connor, New England Mixed Martial Arts

Wilmington, MA) – It is said that it takes a different kind of person to excel in individual sports. American athletes are typically prepared and trained for team sports starting in their youth. What American youth hasn’t played Little League or Soccer, teaching them the value of supporting another and the value of working within a group to achieve a common goal? When someone from this background splinters off and excels in individual pursuits they are often referred to as “different”. When that person doesn’t choose golf or an Olympic sport to earn recognition and instead chooses mixed martial arts well a few other words come to mind. Now when that person forgoes a lucrative career in finance and chooses to train in MMA in the hallowed grounds of Bangor, Maine…that person we simply call “Dale”.

Dale Hartt is different, very different, and it is in a refreshing way. Dale Hartt is honest, possibly too honest. Dale Hartt is passionate, occasionally too passionate. And Dale Hartt is a fighter, an Ultimate Fighter. On July 19th, 2008 on the under card of “UFC Fight Night 14” Dale Hartt will fulfill a life-long dream and compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“Since November of ’93,” Hartt answered to how long he’s been dreaming of this opportunity, “Honestly I’ve been telling people it’s just a matter of time since I started fighting.”

And that time has come, in the form of Shannon Gugherty, a 9-2 Lightweight who owns impressive wins over Cub Swanson and Johnny Torres. Hartt could’ve chosen an easier UFC debut, but rarely does a fighter choose the UFC, the UFC chooses the fighter.

“I thought it was going to be like the pro wrestling crap and I hated pro wrestling, “Hartt answered on how the UFC first “chose” him, “All of sudden Gerard Gordeau kicks Tuli in the face and the tooth goes flying. I seriously put my chair like this far from the TV (squeezing his fingers together) and I sat there like a man possessed; and I’ve watched every UFC since.”

Hartt certainly has a passion for MMA and that passion was at first difficult to understand and even more difficult to accept. Growing up in the average American household which values education (Hartt earned his degree in Financial Economics from the University of North Florida) and foresaw a bright future for their son in the financial industry (Hartt turned down a well paying job with UBS/Paine Webber) isn’t exactly the breeding ground for a top-notch UFC fighter. Although Hartt couldn’t quite see his UFC future as a young man.

Hartt elaborated, “For the longest time I was like, have you ever seen those kids toys where they have like a square, a circle, and different shapes? Well I was like a circle and my whole life I was taking this square and trying to stuff it in there, right? It just wasn’t fitting. Then all of a sudden I started training and I found these other people who were also circles. You know what I mean? It was just a perfect fit for me and it was incredible.”

Incredible is not the word the family would use in describing their sons decision and still doesn’t understand the decision to fight.

“My mom’s like, ‘You’re the dumbest person I’ve ever met’. They just don’t understand it’s really hard. I hear about it literally every time I talk to my family; I hear about it and how dumb fighting is and how they hate it,” Hartt said, “My grandfather’s famous quote was, ‘Why would you let someone punch you in the face?’ (Laughs) I don’t let anyone punch me in the face! And he was like, ‘Well look at your face now!’ and I’m like, Well I didn’t let him!”

Hartt doesn’t let anyone do much of they want in the cage; his undefeated record in five professional fights illuminates that. Although he is loathe describing himself as anything but an “MMA Fighter”.

“I’ve been doing MMA since the beginning. I wasn’t a wrestler who turned to MMA; I wasn’t a jiu-jitsu guy who turned to MMA. I did jiu-jitsu because I was wanted to learn it, because I wanted to fight MMA. I learned Thai boxing because I wanted to fight MMA. It’s all I ever wanted to do, fight MMA,” an impassioned Hartt explained.

Such passion and singular focus has served Hartt well in developing his MMA skills. Hartt quickly rose through the ranks here in New England, having fought for Full Force Productions and their “Untamed” brand, and trained with Marcus Davis’s “Team Irish” up in Bangor, Maine.

“Your team is everything; all you’re drilling, all you’re sparring, everything from that comes from your team you can’t just do that in your basement,” Hartt continued, “it just doesn’t work. Marcus has been an unbelievable resource, I constantly bother him. I drive him nuts! I’m like, ‘What do you think of this? Is this a good idea?’ I’m a pretty crazy guy and I have all this stuff going on. I’m always bothering Marcus; he’s kind of like my guiding light, he gives me a good direction into the fog.”

But Hartt wasn’t done, “Honestly, all I really do is I do the mental preparation. Like that is my job, I get mentally prepared to fight and I do the final stages of me mentally getting ready to fight; which is something that I am stronger at than your average person, and mentally I’m like a bulldozer, but your team is who gets you physically ready.”

Hartt understands what his New England roots have meant to him and his career. Having fought in Brockton, Boston, and Plymouth for well-run, professional organizations, like Full Force Productions, and some questionable organizations, Hartt has learned the ropes of this professional fighting game.

“I’ve learned a lot. I take a realistic view of the whole fight game and promotion, and promoting. It’s not like necessarily the cleanest, most honest business you’ve ever seen, there’s a lot of hustlers,” Hartt detailed, “I love fighting for Untamed. Honestly, I deal with Mike Littlefield a lot and Mike Littlefield is the best guy on the planet as far as I’m concerned. He’s unbelievably intelligent, people really under estimate his ability…he is very private about his fight picks, but he is very accurate. That’s a secret no one knows! So you piss off Mike Littlefield you’re going to lose! That’s why I send him flowers and candy.”

In an area used to hearing “Manny Being Manny” the above is the essence of Dale Hartt, honest to a fault, but a person who enjoys the laughter which is often forgotten in MMA. Just “Dale Being Dale”.

“I look at it as like its fun for me, its fun. Like I could care less, if I lose an MMA fight I’m (not) going to go home and shoot myself,” Hartt described.

But that laughter, that joy belies an intense drive for the sport. Few fighters possess the laser-like focus Hartt displays for a great fight, no matter the consequence.

“I don’t really care what happens, like if I lose the fight I’d be ok with that. If we go out there and just like, have one of those fights that I tell my kids about it, that’s all I want. I don’t even care if it’s in the gym or where it is I love good fights!” Hartt nearly screamed.

And so on July 19th at “UFC Fight Night 14” Dale Hartt will showcase his laughter, his passion, and his New England roots; it’s what makes Dale “different”.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Dale Hartt personally, and this talk about Dale being this and Dale being that is crap. His parents owns a multi-million dollar restaurant and two trucking companies. Dysarts Restaurant and trucking, and Hartt trucking anyone? He is a silver spoon rich kid, that needs to quit selling out his past like he is some tough guy. The first time I met this kid, I told him to shove a mop somewhere, and he turned tail and walked away. Your a fake Dale, and im surprised you didnt lose quicker at UFC

6:40 PM  

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