On Friday November 13, 1993 many things were happening in the world. The bald eagle population was reported to be on the rise, there was an energy crisis going on in Armenia, “NYPD Blue” was shocking audiences across America with primetime profanity and naked rear-ends, and somewhere in Maine a 13 year-old kid named Dale Hartt was introduced to the love of his life – Mixed Martial Arts.
Like many others who were about to watch, young Dale was expecting to see a more rugged version of the WWF at best when he and his friends purchased UFC 1 on pay-per-view that fateful night. What they got was far from body slams and clotheslines. The opening bout featured a 400lb. sumo wrestler against a French kickboxer who was less than half the size of the enormous Hawaiian sumo. Everyone thought the same thing – “that poor kickboxer!” What happened next not only changed the fabric of society and laid the groundwork for the sport we love today; it changed that kid from Maine forever. It took about 20 seconds for the kickboxer to defeat the massive sumo via a vicious kick to the face which sent a tooth flying into the audience. Dale Hartt went from casual to hardcore fan instantly.
Shortly thereafter, Dale Hartt began teaching himself how to do basic moves like armbars and rear-naked chokes. Dale knew he would be a fighter. After moving to Florida in 2000, Dale started laying the groundwork for what would become his future. He trained in wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai kickboxing. About that time in his life Hartt says “The interesting thing about me is, I never had any intentions for anything but to fight. I never was like, oh I’m a wrestler I guess I’ll start fighting.”
Tonight, on the biggest stage in MMA, the UFC, Dale Hartt will be fighting. He fights not only for the check in win column or the check in his mailbox, but he fights to repay the people who have sacrificed so that he could get to where he is today, mainly his girlfriend Ashley. Amongst other things, Ashley slept on a cot on the floor of Team Quest’s gym for weeks so Dale could train with the likes of Dan Henderson and Sokoudjou. A win tonight against Shannon Gugerty would validate that all the time spent away from home and the long hours spent training on the road weren’t all for naught. As if the pressure of fighting in the UFC wasn’t enough on its own, Dale now has an extra mouth to feed as he and Ashley recently welcomed a child into the world on May 31st. While MMA was making its debut on network television, Ashley was giving birth to a beautiful baby boy. To illustrate how big a fan of MMA Ashley is, shortly after the birth Dale says, “she has the baby around 11, and then by 3 she’s like, I can’t wait to see Kimbo fight! You know that’s a great girl.”
He brings an unblemished record (5-0) into his octagon debut tonight against the Californian Gugerty (10-2). All of Dale’s wins have come via strikes in some manner or another. Gugerty is more of a ground fighter but Hartt is welcoming of the style match-up. He’s been training with both Marcus Davis at Team Irish and with Mark DellaGrotte at Sityodtong to prepare for this fight. When asked about training at Sityodtong with the likes of Davis and Kenny Florian, Hartt says, “you get tired or fall asleep at Sityodtong and someone is going to kick you in the face. Everyone in there will kick your head off if you let’em.”
At this point, its fight time and training is over. Nothing left to do but get in the cage, shut the door, and work. Whatever happens in this fight, Hartt wants to entertain above all else. “Win or lose, I want to put on a good show for the fans. Frankly I’m sick of the work; I’m ready for the cake. You know? I’ve been working my butt of doing rounds every day to the point where I can’t even feel my legs. At this point, I’m ready to go out there and tear this kid apart.”
Learn more about Dale at www.combatfitness.us