Name- Tony "the gun" Bonello
Professional MMA record: 18 wins - 2 loses (1 lose was to Murilo Rua at middleweight 185lbs
& 1 lose to Rolles Gracie at heavyweight -265lbs)
Tony is the 1st Australian to ever win a professional Mixed Martial Arts World Championship belt on
American soil in an American organization.
He won the "king of the cage" midleweight world title belt on November 2nd, 2003.
He has since gone on to win 3 World championships in 3 different weight classes in the "king of the cage"
organization. middleweight (2003), light heavyweight (2005) & cruiserweight (2010).
November 2nd 2003 @ King of the Cage 30/ wins middleweight world championship
February 4th 2005 @ King of the Cage 46/ wins light heavyweight world championship
February 7th 2007 @ King of the Cage 'Lords of War'/ defeated John 'Wayne' Parr in 30 seconds via RNC
October 13th 2007 @ King of the Cage 'Hierarchy'/defeated Tony 'Kryptonite' Lopez
February 12th 2010 @ King of the Cage 'vengeance' wins cruiserweight world championship
Tony is also the 1st Australian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blackbelt male to ever win a Gold Medal at the IBJJF No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World championships.
When he won 2 fights both via choke submissions on November 2nd, 2014 at the Ibjjf Masters Brazilian Jiu-jitsu World Championships in California, America.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu highlights:
Started training brazilian jiu-jitsu in 1993. Recieved his blackbelt in brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2003 (10 years to get from white belt to black belt)
Won 2 gold medals in the blackbelt division of the 2008 Ibjjf American National gi & no-gi championships
Won 3 silver medals in the blackbelt masters division at the Ibjjf no-gi world championships in california, 2008, 2009, 2011.
Won Gold medal in the blackbelt division at the Ibjjf Masters no-gi World Championships in california, 2014.
Tony Bonello grew up in Sydney, Australia and as a teenager he traveled to Japan with his older brother and then travelled throughout Asia over a ten year period. In 1993, Tony who was 21 at the time, took a vacation to Hawaii with his older brother when he saw a pay-per-view advertisement for UFC 1. The ad promoted guys who were going to fight bare knuckle inside a cage with no rules, no weight classes & no time limits.
Tony and his older brother both watched UFC 1 live on PPV live in their vacation home in Waikiki, Hawaii and saw Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for the first time. They were blown away. Shocked at how simple it was to defeat a much larger, stronger striker who didn’t know Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. It was mind blowing how all the big guys who only knew how to strike would be taken down and submitted so easily.
Tony wanted to learn this martial art system that he had never seen before. The Gracie's basic strategy was to take an opponent who didn't have jiu-jitsu to the ground, control them and use leverage to submit them. Tony liked this smart game plan.
Tony was hooked on this intelligent art and the strategy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He wanted to add this incredible arsenal to the traditional martial arts skills he had already acquired growing up. After watching UFC 1, he was now on a mission to learn the art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and one day fight inside a cage in America like the men he saw fight in UFC 1.
During the 1990's, Tony went to the motherland of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Brazil, to train. He flew to Rio and was very privileged and lucky to do private lessons with Mario Sperry while he was there. Sperry was the Blackbelt Heavyweight World Champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the time and showed Tony, who was a white belt at the time, some of the basic principles of bjj. Sperry also introduced him to one of the greatest fighters ever from the Gracie family, Carlson Gracie Sr., who was the man Sperry received his black belt from. Carlson Sr. owned his own academy in Rio, where Tony had an opportunity to train with his students. This was the first time Tony (white belt) got to spar with a group of genuine black belts in Brazil from the Carlson Gracie competition team. After being choked and arm locked too many times to count and not understanding how it kept happening, Tony's hunger and desire to learn bjj was at an all time high. But, after living in Rio and training for several months, his time in Brazil was running out and he had to fly back to Sydney, Australia. Even though Tony was still a white belt, he learned some great basic principles from Sperry and kept training bjj with some friends when he arrived back in Sydney.
Tony’s focus was to keep studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and he learnt as much as he could. As the year 2000 came and went, Tony kept travelling around the world following his passion for traditional martial arts & was privileged to have studied martial arts from many of the best trainers in the world. Some of the main gyms he trained in were Adam Watt’s Muay Thai in Manly, Vos gym in Amsterdam, Sitpholek gym in Thailand, Paulo Guimaraes in Bondi Beach, Al Stankie boxing in Los Angeles, Wajyutsu Keisyukai in Tokyo, Seidokaikan Karate in Osaka, Roberto Duran boxing in Panama, Master Toddy in Las Vegas, Jeff Fenech in Sydney, Carlson Gracie gym in Rio, Eddie Mills at Shark Tank in California, Sean Canova in Orange County, Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, and Sifu Chan Chuk Fai at the Jin Wu Koon Academy in Chinatown, Sydney.
Tony got into great physical condition from all the traveling and training at the various gyms and was looking for a professional MMA event to fight on. He got offered a fight and had his MMA professional debut on a 'Pancrase' event that originated in Japan, which was to be held on October 16, 2001. The fights were held inside a boxing ring under MMA rules; Tony won.
Two years later, with a professional record of 6 wins & 0 losses, which consisted of 4 fights in Australia and 2 fights in America, Tony was offered a great opportunity by 'King of the Cage' promotional company owner Terry Trebilcock Jr. to fight for the Middleweight World Championship belt in America.
November 2003, Tony became the first Australian fighter to ever win a professional MMA world championship belt inside a cage in America when he won the 'King of the Cage' middleweight championship. This was Tony’s 7th professional bout at 31years old, which was exactly 10 years after Tony watched UFC1.
To make 2003 even more memorable for Tony, Paulo awarded Tony his Blackbelt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Tony was the first Australian to receive a Blackbelt from Paulo Guimaraes.
After Tony won his first world championship belt in 'King of the Cage' in 2003 in America. He wanted to keep fighting inside a cage. Even though Tony had fought on a few different MMA events in Sydney inside a boxing ring, it felt so different than inside a cage. He was determined to fight inside a cage in Sydney. In 2004, he sat down with 'King of the Cage' owner Terry Trebilcock Jr. in California, USA to discuss the plan of promoting KOTC in Australia. Terry liked the idea, as no one was promoting consistent cage fighting events in Sydney at the time and there was only one cage fighting event that had ever been promoted in Sydney before, which was in 1997 and none since. So Terry took KOTC to Australia and asia.
The ‘King of the Cage Australasia plan’ was for Terry to do 10 KOTC events over a 2 year period in Australia and Asia. Then tony was to fly back to America to live and fight for Terry on the shows in America. The first KOTC cage fighting promotional event was in 2005 in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, then Singapore and Japan. Then in 2006, after 9 events had been completed they had a final event in February, 2007.
The Australasia plan went well and the first 9 cage fighting events were filmed in HD quality and shown on TV in America in a delayed telecast at a later date. For the 10th and final KOTC event, the main event pitted Tony vs. the Australian superstar, John Wayne Parr.
Parr is a 10 time World Champion who has had over 100 professional fights in combat sports and is the most famous Muay Thai fighter of all time from Australia. Tony fought the Australian legend, John Wayne Parr, inside the cage on February 7, 2007 with Tony winning in 30 seconds from a rear naked choke! Tony was 35 years old at the time of this bout. 1st time in over 100 pro fights Parr was stopped in the 1st round.
Tony then departed Australia and flew to California a week after his Wayne Parr fight and was in California when he got a phone call from Terry Trebilcock asking him if wanted to fight in New Mexico vs. Tony 'Kryptonite' Lopez, a 6'4 KOTC heavyweight world champion who had just ko'ed UFC fighter Kyle Kingsbury 4 weeks earlier in the 1st round. Tony accepted the fight and defeated Lopez by unanimous decision.
In 2008, King of the Cage signed a TV deal with Mark Burnett and MTV to create 'Bully Beatdown'. The show was a tremendous success. It featured several world champions such as UFC heavyweight world champion Andrei Arlovski and strike-force world champion Jake shields. The show was and still is being viewed in over 100 different countries worldwide. Tony’s episode was the first "Bully Beatdown" episode to be aired worldwide and received amazing ratings. On the first day it aired, over 1.2 million people viewed it in America alone. Tony recorded a 2nd episode for season two which was an even greater success at 1.4 million views in America in its first airing.
After the success of the 'Bully Beatdown' TV Show, Tony opened up a Martial arts gym in Texas. Eventually, he opened up three different locations over the next three years due to the growth of his gym. Over the next 7 years he trained many students with 10 of those becoming Black Belts under him. 5 of which now have their own Brazilian jiu-jitsu academies, continuing the jiu-jitsu legacy for generations to come.
In 2009, He also received his 1st & 2nd degree's in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and his certificate of ‘Professor of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu ‘ from Ralph Gracie during this period.
On February 12, 2010, Tony won the KOTC cruiserweight world title in New Mexico, USA, his 3rd weight class world title in King of the Cage.
Tony promoted 2 live King of the Cage events in the state of Texas in the same town he had his gyms during 2011 to showcase his student’s abilities fighting in the cage.
In January 2012, Tony left Texas and went back to Asia to live. On August 31, 2012, Tony who was 39 years old fought Rolles Gracie in Manila, Philippines. Rolles is the biggest MMA fighter in the history of the Gracie family, as a 6'5 250lb heavyweight. Tony officially weighed in at 206lbs. They fought in the exact stadium where Ali fought Frazier for the heavyweight boxing world championship that was better known as the "Thriller in Manila".
Gracie defeated Tony in the 3rd round to give Tony his second loss in MMA. Tony’s record now stands at 18wins, 2 loses.
On November 2nd, 2014 Tony at the age of 42 entered the Ibjjf brazilian jiu-jitsu Masters no-gi world championships in the Blackbelt division. He had 2 fights and won both fights via submission to win the Gold Medal and become the 1st Australian blackbelt male to ever do so.