WHITMAN — Mixed martial arts fighter Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti, 23, of Whitman is undefeated in the cage — and plans to keep it that way — as he battles it out for the championship on this seasons “Ultimate Fighter Season 27 Undefeated.”
In episode one of the series Giannetti of Team Daniel Cormier UFC light heavyweight champion, fought against John Gunther of Team UFC heavy weight champion-coach Stipe Miocic. In 17 seconds Giannetti choked Gunther in a guillotine move, leaving Gunther out cold.
Looking back at his school wrestling career he says he did not have such high hopes of being where he is today.
Middle school was tough for him as he said he was bullied at school. He was not afraid to fight and often did feel the need to defend himself when he said school officials brushed off his claims.
Overweight and short, he was teased for his looks. When he didn’t make the basketball team he decided to wrestle and committed to the sport for four years. Taking the opportunity to slim down as he grew taller a much different young man emerged from high school. He learned to eat healthier, portion-sized meals.
A graduate of South Shore Vo-Tech’s Class of 2013, he grew up in Whitman and Rockland. He wrestled at heavy weight his freshman year, which he used to get himself in shape.
“I wasn’t very good so my goal was to get my weight down. By senior year I was wrestling at 170 pounds,” he recalled.
He trained under Justin Burrell at South Shore Sportsfighting in Norwell where he attended a wrestling camp and learned martial arts.
After fielding questions about going to college, Giannetti realized his career in MMA could earn him an occupation. Support from his father came as he got better.
“My Dad is super-excited about me being on the Ultimate Fighter. He wasn’t happy about me fighting at first, but now that I can make something out if, I think he’s proud,” he said.
When he isn’t training Giannetti can be found hanging out with friends and caring for his two pups.
“I have a soft spot for my dogs,” he said.
He adopted his first dog from a local shelter and recently took in his second pup that was in less-than-acceptable living conditions. His dog Frazier, 6, is a boxer he adopted early and Thor, 6, is an American bulldog which is working through separation anxiety.
Giannetti was low key while talking to the Express as he got his hair cut and posed for photos. He was recognized by locals, which he said has been new since the series is currently airing on TV.
Giannetti is 24th ranked of 198 active U.S. Northeast Pro Lightweights. Also ranked at: Welterweight (23rd) Joe Giannetti is the 7th ranked of 67 active New England Pro Lightweights. Also ranked at: Welterweight (8th), according to Tapology online. He is also listed as 6-0 by Sherdog website boxing stats.
“The Ultimate Fighter” is a reality series but also a competition, in which 16 guys who live in a house for six weeks: no cell phones, radios, TV or music from the outside world and vying for the title of champ.
There are two weight classes of 145- and 155-pounds on a two eight-man brackets, with two finalists one from each team going toe-to-toe on the live card in July.
-One winner in each weight class will get a six-figure contract with the UFC.
July 6 Las Vegas will be live for the fighters that make it. Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 27: Undefeated” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FS.