“Crazy” and So Much More: Mike Mucitelli
Humility, Gratitude, Friendship, Family.
When you read those words just now, I bet you thought of what they meant to you. Or maybe, of someone who embodies them. Sometimes, it’s difficult to find people who have all of these qualities simultaneously. However, one place you can find countless individuals with all these attributes and more, is at Tai Kai Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts in Liverpool, NY. And one person who stands out in particular, is Michael Mucitelli.
“Crazy” Mike Mucitelli was born in Rochester and raised in Syracuse from an early age. He attended University at Albany and majored in Finance. After he graduated, he bounced around from job to job. There was not much effort in his work ethic and he was miserable with all of them. He went from an ex-athlete in high school and undergrad to being despondent, overweight, and drinking a lot. The first time he had ever taken an interest in martial arts were in his last two years at UAlbany, when he began Capoeira. It was not until Mucitelli found Tai Kai, when he would turn his life around and find his purpose and passion.
What Mucitelli has learned through Martial Arts has shaped the character of the man who has come to value humility and be grateful for community and contribute in a way that will come full circle. His motivation to want to share the value of what he has learned through Martial Arts has strengthened him so that he can contribute more significantly to the community that has supported him and the family that he has found. It is said that, “Humility shows when acting for others and personal growth are what matter most.” Humility and gratitude have allowed him to appreciate many things, become a better man, and want to pay it forward.
“They have given me the opportunity to do what I do for a living as a fighter. It has given me direction and a reason to really get up in the morning,” says Mucitelli. In addition to Mucitelli being able to pursue his passion, he has gained so much more from Tai Kai. He has trained with a lot of the guys there for the last 8 years and has grown very close to them. But it doesn’t stop there. As well as training at the school Mucitelli relies on these guys for a multitude of things. For instance, their friendship, hanging out, going out to eat, and overall supporting each other especially when it comes to preparing for fights. Needless to say, the people at Tai Kai are his family.
The Syracuse community has also been supportive of Mucitelli. Being able to train at Tai Kai has definitely been integral to Mucitelli becoming a Professional Light Heavyweight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter. However, local businesses have also wanted to see Mucitelli succeed. They reach out and want to sponsor him because they want to see someone local do well. Some of his sponsors include: J Ryan’s Pub Inc., Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Camillus Massage Therapy, RUNA, and Lanky Fight Gear. The 95x local radio station also shows their support and invites him to come and talk. Also, if you visit his “Crazy” Mike Mucitelli page on Facebook, it’s apparent how much the community supports him and how thankful he is for it.
Many people have their preconceived notions about fighters being these cocky, aggressive, stand offish, people. But Mucitelli again dispels those notions by being a “huge techy dork nerd who’s a big video gamer,” who wants to continue growing in every way he can and pay back people who helped him along the way. Another interesting fact about Mucitelli is how well informed he is about the legal future of MMA in NY. The bill to approve MMA in NY has been looked at for many years with overwhelming support, but continues to fall through because of those we’ve elected not serving the interests of the community. He hates that fights being banned in NY has such a stifling effect on the talented people who live here. Most fighters from NY will never have a “home feel” fight, their exposure will be limited, and it takes jobs away from the area. For now, Mucitelli will be preparing for his upcoming fights in 2015 to be out of state where he will be looking to increase his 7-1 record.
For some, when thinking about those who epitomize characteristics such as humility, gratitude, friendship, and family, wouldn’t normally think about a light heavyweight MMA fighter. But as Mucitelli says, “you will not meet a more approachable, thankful, and humble group of individuals than you will in this sport . . . these are some of the best people you’ll ever meet, they are very welcoming, and this is an amazing school.”
Check out some of what he does to train!