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Mike Rio
Mike Picture Photo by Annette Rodriguez.jpg
BornMichael Alexander Rio
(1981-07-06) July 6, 1981 (age 38)
Miami, Florida, United States
Other namesThe Wolverine
ResidenceMiami, Florida, United States
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st)
Reach71.0 in (180 cm)
Fighting out ofMiami, Florida, United States
TeamAmerican Top Team Miramar
American Top Team Coconut Creek
Years active2008-2014
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout4
By submission5
By decision1
By knockout2
By submission2
By decision1
Other information
UniversityLindenwood University
Harper College
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: April 17, 2012

Michael Alexander Rio (born July 6, 1981) is an American mixed martial artist who last competed in 2014. A professional since 2008, he has competed for the UFC and was a competitor on the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter. .

Wrestling career

High school

Rio was introduced to wrestling at Cutler Ridge Middle School, but truly began competing at Miami Southridge High School, where he went on to win two Florida state championships under high school wrestling coach Jim Husk (who also coached his father, uncle, older brother and two younger brothers) and assistant coach Kenny Johnson.[1] During that time he led his school to two undefeated state championship wins, individually amassing an overall record of 147-10, going undefeated his junior and senior years. Along with those honors, he also holds the national record of fastest pin at 4 seconds at 103 lbs.[2] He was also named to the Wrestling USA Magazine's National All-American High School Team as an Honorable Mention in 2000[3] and Wrestler of the Year (Mr. Wrestling) by Florida Dairy Farmers, Inc.[4]

It was also in high school that Rio met and began some wrestling training with Cuban world champion and now fellow fighter Alexis Vila.


In his first year at the collegiate level, Rio advanced to the finals of the national tournament, but lost. A year later, he once again advanced to the finals and won his first national championship at the junior college national wrestling championships for Harper College in Illinois at 149 lbs. He then won back-to-back titles at the NAIA national wrestling championships for Lindenwood University in Missouri at 149 and 157 lbs, respectively. He was also the only NAIA wrestler that year to defend his back-to-back title.[5][6] Rio finished his college career by being named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the 2006 national championship tournament.[7] And it was because of this performance that he had the honor of being featured in the March 27 issue of Sports Illustrated Magazine's long-running segment Faces in the Crowd.[8]

Additionally, during his time at Lindenwood University he was also the college roommate of now fellow UFC fighter and The Ultimate Fighter 12 winner Jonathan Brookins.[9]

Mixed martial arts career


While working as a bouncer at a club, Rio was approached by many former wrestlers asking why he did not fight MMA. After first shunning the idea, he finally gave the sport a try.[10] He began his MMA training at Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) in Westchester, Florida under the tutelage of brothers Marcos and David Avellan.[11] Initially thinking this would only be a hobby, it wasn't until the ML Management Group CEO offered her management services that his career really began to take off.[12]

Rio is nicknamed "The Wolverine" after the Marvel Comics character for having a similar look. More specifically, the film version played by Hugh Jackman.

Early career and training

Rio's first pro fight came in 2008 when he defeated Marc Seno at Reality Combat Championship 2 with a technical knock out by punches.[13] Mike continued on his winning streak besting his next five opponents via submissions and knockouts between 2008-2011, with one fight ending in a unanimous decision against Mike Bruno.[14] It was also during that time that Rio briefly fought for the former Miami Heat player Glen Rice's G-Force Fights promotion.[15]

Rio formally trained in Miami at gyms Zen Ju-Jitsu with Coach Enrico Cocco, The Health Joint with Ulises Garcia and Young Tigers with Manuel "Manolo" Lopez and Ultimate Fighter alum Alex Caceres.[16][17] Rio has also trained at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Delray Beach, Florida best known for their team, the Blackzilians[18] and has traveled to Texas to train with The Ultimate Fighter 16 winner Colton Smith and his boxing coach.

Rio has most recently taken up coaching/training at the American Top Team in Miramar, Florida and Coconut Creek, Florida.

Championship Fighting Alliance

Rio made his Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) debut against opponent and former The Ultimate Fighter champion Efrain Escudero, but suffered his first loss via decision against the fighter.[19] Rio rebounded by winning his next two contests, prior to being chosen to participate on The Ultimate Fighter: Live.[20]

The Ultimate Fighter

Having changed formats and being moved to a different network, The Ultimate Fighter's 15th season debuted live on cable channel FX March 9, 2012 with rivals Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber coaching the 32 potential candidates vying for a spot in The Ultimate Fighter House.[21] In the preliminary bout to reach the house, Rio faced Northern Irish fighter, Ali Maclean, and won by submission with a rear-naked choke.[22] He was then chosen by current UFC Bantamweight Champion Cruz along with seven other fighters to represent his "Team Cruz" on the show.

After a visit from Ronda Rousey, weeks of heavy training, enduring a minor knee injury, and a scuffle with teammate Justin Lawrence, Rio's name was finally called to face Faber's British fighter Andy Ogle.[23] The fight was even going into the second round, but Rio fell to Ogle via rear-naked choke.[24]

In the last episode before the season finale, it was revealed by UFC president Dana White that all the contestants in the house would fight in the finale except Ogle and Rio due to injuries. The injury to Rio being two broken ribs he suffered during his fight with Ogle. The injury wasn't immediately noticed after the fight, instead it was discovered in training the following week.[25] That didn't deter White, however as he was so impressed by the calibre of talent on the show that he decided to sign them all to contracts, Rio included.[26]

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Rio made his official UFC debut when he faced fellow TUF: Live alumnus John Cofer on December 15, 2012 at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson Finale.[27] He won via submission (armbar) in the third round.[28]

Months later, Rio faced and was defeated by Francisco Trinaldo via arm triangle choke on May 18, 2013 at UFC on FX 8.[29][30]

Rio then faced The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner Tony Ferguson on October 19, 2013 at UFC 166.[31] He lost via D'arce choke submission in the first round.

Finally, Rio faced Daron Cruickshank on January 25, 2014 at UFC on Fox 10. He lost the fight when he was stunned due to a wheel kick and finally TKO'd by punches at 4:56 of round two. As a result, Rio was released from the promotion.[32]

Fight Time Promotions

In late March 2014, Rio signed with olympic gold medalist boxer Howard Davis, Jr.'s Fight Time Promotions. In his first ever main event, he went up against former Bellator fighter Avery McPhatter on May 30 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.[33] He won in the first round via D'Arce choke. He also won submission of the night.[34]

In his second main event, Rio faced former Bellator fighter Frank Carrillo for the Fight Time Lightweight Championship on August 29, 2014.[35] He lost the fight via second round knockout.[36] Carrillo, however, was ineligible to win the title belt for lack of making weight for the fight.

Acting career

The Ultimate Fighter wasn't Rio's first taste of television. In 2011, during the fifth season of Miami-based show Burn Notice (eighth episode entitled "Hard Out"), Rio appeared in several scenes in an uncredited mercenary role, even sharing one scene with show star Jeffrey Donovan.[37]

Rio also appeared in a music video in 2012 entitled "The Crown" by Miami hip-hop, funk and soul fusion band Dangerflow. In the video he plays a man fired from his day job and forced to fight in night street fights to earn money for his fictional daughter.[38] The Crown was also the official song of the Miami Heat championship parade that same year.[39]

Personal life

Rio's mother and father are of Cuban descent. His mother being born in Miami, his father immigrating to Miami at the age of five. Rio, also born and raised in Miami, participated in many sports with his older brother, including soccer, basketball, baseball, cross country running and wrestling. After his parents divorced and remarried, his family grew and he soon had many siblings, almost all of which also wrestled.[40] After college, Rio returned home and began volunteering coaching at Christopher Columbus High School (Miami), where two of his four younger brothers both attended and wrestled. Also during that time he began a career in security as a bouncer in Miami's Coconut Grove and downtown Brickell areas and most currently in Miami's South Beach area.[41]

In April 2015, director/producer Danny Segura put together a short documentary film entitled "Scraping for a Dollar" in which Rio is followed on his daily routine and his attempt to reenter the UFC.[42]

Rio also is a strong advocate of Autism "awareness", having a younger brother with the disorder. He often volunteers at schools and conventions and has even created a wristband with his name in which he donates all the proceeds to Autism Speaks.[43] It is because of those efforts that he has become one of the South Florida athletic spokesmen for the organization.[44]

Rio and his family are no strangers to fighting having a grandfather and great uncle, Ricardo Montero Duque (who was a major in the Cuban Army and later the US Army), that fought during the Bay of Pigs Invasion against Fidel Castro's forces and for Cuba's Independence in the 1950s and 60s.[45]

Rio is also the cousin of Gaby Sánchez of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

On May 17, 2016, Rio and his fiancée welcomed a child, a boy, his first.

Championships and accomplishments


Mixed martial arts

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
15 matches 10 wins 5 losses
By knockout 4 2
By submission 5 2
By decision 1 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 10–5 Frank Carrillo KO (punches) Fight Time 20 August 29, 2014 2 2:18 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, United States For the vacant Fight Time Lightweight Championship.
Win 10–4 Avery McPhatter Submission (D'Arce choke) Fight Time 19: Battle of the Brave May 30, 2014 1 2:38 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Loss 9–4 Daron Cruickshank TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson January 25, 2014 2 4:56 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 9–3 Tony Ferguson Submission (D'Arce choke) UFC 166 October 19, 2013 1 1:52 Houston, Texas, United States
Loss 9–2 Francisco Trinaldo Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold May 18, 2013 1 3:08 Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil
Win 9–1 John Cofer Submission (armbar) The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale December 15, 2012 3 4:11 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–1 John Ortolani TKO (punches) CFA 4: Izquierdo vs. Cenoble December 17, 2011 1 4:53 Miami, Florida, United States
Win 7–1 Zach Juusola TKO (punches) CFA 3: Howard vs. Olson October 9, 2011 1 1:01 Miami, Florida, United States
Loss 6–1 Efrain Escudero Decision (unanimous) CFA 2: McCorkle vs. Befort July 23, 2011 3 5:00 Miami, Florida, United States
Win 6–0 Sylvain Bynum TKO (punches) MFA: New Generation 4 February 11, 2011 1 0:51 Miami, Florida, United States
Win 5–0 Jimmy Chaikong Submission (rear-naked choke) G-Force Fights: Bad Blood 4 November 18, 2010 1 1:38 Miami, Florida, United States
Win 4–0 Mike Bruno Decision (unanimous) MFA: New Generation 3 September 18, 2010 3 5:00 Miami, Florida, United States
Win 3–0 Carlos Galindo Submission (choke) Fite Nite: Terror En La Villa October 31, 2009 2 0:59 San José, Costa Rica
Win 2–0 Nathaniel Robinson Submission (rear-naked choke) WWCF: Blood War January 25, 2009 1 2:45 Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
Win 1–0 Marc Seno TKO (punches) Reality Combat Championship 2: The Second Encounter March 1, 2008 1 3:09 Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Mixed martial arts exhibition record

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 1–1 Andy Ogle Submission (rear-naked choke) The Ultimate Fighter: Live May 4, 2012 2 4:19 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Preliminary round.
Win 1–0 Ali Maclean Submission (rear-naked choke) The Ultimate Fighter: Live March 9, 2012 1 3:32 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 1 round TUF entry fight.

See also


  1. ^ "Coaching Legend: Southridge's Jim Husk Retires". January 22, 2004.
  2. ^ "Wrestling USA: Stuart Mahler" (PDF). March 15, 2012.
  3. ^ "Wrestling USA Magazine Hall of Fame". May 30, 2000.
  4. ^ "1999-2000 Florida High School Sports Awards Winners". 2000.
  5. ^ "NAIA National Wrestling Championships". Archived from the original on 2013-10-16.
  6. ^ "TUFLive Coaches 1st Pick – Miles Jury or Mike Rio". March 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "Dana College captures first ever NAIA team title". March 5, 2006.
  8. ^ "Faces In The Crowd". March 27, 2006.
  9. ^ "Former TUF Winner Jonathan Brookins Excited To Be Facing Charles Oliveira At TUF Live Finale". April 12, 2012.
  10. ^ "Mike Rio: Once an Athlete, Always an Athlete". May 9, 2015.
  11. ^ "Brawl and Maul Fighters Mike Bernhard and Mike Rio victorious at Fite Nite". November 1, 2009.
  12. ^ "Wrestling Standout Mike Rio Loves the Spotlight of MMA, Eyes Up the UFC". May 26, 2011.
  13. ^ "Michael Rio defeats Marc Seno by TKO (Strikes) in Round 1, 3:09". March 3, 2008.
  14. ^ "Mike Rio "The Wolverine"".
  15. ^ "G-Force Fights - Bad Blood 4". November 18, 2010.
  16. ^ ""The Wolverine" Mike Rio Interview". December 2, 2011.
  17. ^ "The Ultimate Fighter 15: Mike "The Wolverine" Rio ready for battle part two". March 2, 2012.
  18. ^ "TUF: Live Competitor Mike "The Wolverine" Rio: "I Will Destroy Cofer"". December 10, 2012.
  19. ^ "Efrain Escudero defeats Mike Rio via 3 Round Decision". July 23, 2011.
  20. ^ "Mike Rio: "The Wolverine" Ready to Battle on The Ultimate Fighter". March 5, 2012.
  21. ^ "'The Ultimate Fighter 15' cast unveiled with 32 lightweight fighters". February 27, 2012. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  22. ^ "Fight to get into the House: TUF Live Preliminary Round Live Results". March 9, 2012.
  23. ^ "TUF Live, Mike Rio Vs. Andy Ogle Odds and Outlook: Fan's Take". May 3, 2012.
  24. ^ "Andy Ogle Upsets Mike Rio on 'The Ultimate Fighter LIVE'". May 4, 2012.
  25. ^ "Mike Rio Waits for his turn while Ribs Heal". June 16, 2012.
  26. ^ "Mike Rio – Going Full Circle". November 21, 2012.
  27. ^ "John Cofer meets fellow 'TUF: Live' cast member Mike Rio at TUF 16 Finale". October 31, 2012.
  28. ^ "TUF 16 Finale results: Mike Rio submits former 'TUF Live' housemate John Cofer". December 15, 2012.
  29. ^ "TUF 15 vet Mike Rio meets Francisco Trinaldo at UFC on FX 8 in Brazil on May 18". March 2, 2013.
  30. ^ "UFC on FX 8 results/photos: Francisco Trinaldo submits Mike Rio in first round". May 18, 2013.
  31. ^ "Tony Ferguson vs. Mike Rio added to UFC 166". July 12, 2013.
  32. ^ "Mike Rio removed from UFC's active rosters". March 26, 2014.
  33. ^ "Fight Time 19′s Mike Rio: Hometown Crowd Key to Victory". May 28, 2014.
  34. ^ "Fight Time 19 Recap". May 31, 2014.
  35. ^ "Mike Rio vs. Frank Carrillo".
  36. ^ "Fight Time 20: Mike Rio vs. Frank Carrillo". Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  37. ^ "Mike Rio - IMDb".
  38. ^ "Dangerflow - The Crown [Official Music Video]".
  39. ^ "2012 Miami Heat Season Video Recap featuring music by Dangerflow's "The Crown"". June 29, 2012.
  40. ^ "All Dade" (PDF). April 8, 2008.
  41. ^ ""The Wolverine" Mike Rio Interview". December 2, 2011.
  42. ^ "SCRAPING FOR A DOLLAR". April 30, 2015.
  43. ^ "Fighting both in and out of the cage: TUF 15 Contestant, Mike "The Wolverine" Rio goes head-to-head with Autism". April 2, 2012.
  44. ^ "Mike Rio: More Than Meets the Eye". May 14, 2014.
  45. ^ "Ricardo Montero Duque". July 21, 2008.
  46. ^ "TUFLive Coaches 1st Pick – Miles Jury or Mike Rio". March 15, 2012.
  47. ^ "Wrestling USA: Stuart Mahler" (PDF). March 15, 2012.
  48. ^ "Wrestling USA Magazine Hall of Fame". May 30, 2000.
  49. ^ "1999-2000 Florida High School Sports Awards Winners". 2000.
  50. ^ "Mike Rio-Efrain Escudero Set for CFA 2 in Miami". 2004.
  51. ^ "Dana College captures first ever NAIA team title". March 5, 2006.
  52. ^ "Best MMA Fighter - 2013". June 14, 2013.
  53. ^ "UFC Fighter Mike Rio Wins Award". December 11, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 December 2019, at 01:44
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