FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (August 26, 2013) – New England Fights MMA’s (NEF MMA) “Dangerous” Dom “Hands of Stone” Cofone (4-1) might be the fastest rising amateur lightweight in the Northeast right now. He’s rattled off four wins in less than six months and during that time dropped only one questionable loss to undefeated grappling ace Kirk Florian (3-0), younger brother to famous UFC star Kenny “Ken Flo” Florian (14-6). But despite the hype building around him, Cofone—the fighter so nice he was nicknamed twice—remains one calm, cool and collected customer and is ready to grab his lunch pail and go to work when he returns to the cage on September 21st at “NEF X” at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine for the biggest challenge of his young career.
“I always loved fighting as a kid,” stated Cofone, 31. “I watched UFC 1 and thought it was awesome. I was a huge Bruce Lee fan as well, and then I got into wrestling in sixth grade. My wrestling eventually brought me to train in the summer with coach Ted Reese and a lot of his Bonny Eagle alumni, one of which was Mike Brown. We were about the same size so I ended up wrestling with him quite a bit. Eventually Jay Jack opened up The Academy of Mixed Martial Arts in my hometown of Westbrook. I used to train with Brown there a lot before he moved down to Florida to train with ATT. After Brown moved away, I had no one to wrestle with so I dabbled in jiu-jitsu at The Academy. Then my wife got pregnant with our first son and I took six years off while having two more kids and buying a house.”
Cofone, a former Class A state champion wrestler from Westbrook high school and husband and father of three, was enticed to start training in mixed martial arts (MMA) after watching his current instructor, Nate Charles (1-5), put on a knockout-of-the-year candidacy performance against Rob Vandastine (0-1) at “NEF V” in November 2012. Enchanted by Charles’ knockout, Cofone sought out the owner and head instructor at Balanced Ground MMA in Windham, Maine and began training in the sport of MMA in earnest.
“Nate Charles opened up Balanced Ground right by my house,” stated Cofone. “I saw him get the knockout of the year at an NEF event and started working out with him. I figured if signing up to climb in a cage and fight another man doesn’t motivate you to get into shape, then nothing will.”
A natural fighter from the get-go, Cofone first stepped into the cage in February 2013 as a welterweight against a much bigger opponent and won by rear naked choke submission in the second round. From there, Cofone was off and running. He dropped to his natural weight class of 155-pounds and rattled off wins against CMBJJ’s Matt Denning (2-2) and Team Bombsquad’s Rob Solveson (1-2) before coming up against the highly regarded Kirk Florian (3-0) back in June. After three full rounds of back-and-forth action mainly contested on the feet, Florian was awarded a split-decision on the judge’s scorecards. The defeat still haunts Cofone to this day.
“The loss to Florian sucked being my first loss, but it was a great experience and it gave me a ton of confidence knowing that I could go toe to toe with a great fighter like Kirk,” stated Cofone.
Disappointed in the loss but undeterred, Cofone decided to get right back in the cage on August 3rd at “NEX IX” against another tough ground specialist, Team Irish’s Kristian Kramer (2-1). Not willing to leave anything up to the judge’s this time, Cofone came out firing right from the opening bell and cracked Kramer with a gigantic overhand right before finishing the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt definitively via ground and pound just 11 seconds into the fight. The audience erupted in approval and Cofone had officially arrived as a top-contender in the Northeast amateur lightweight division. The latest rankings released earlier this week list Cofone at #10 in the Northeast for amateur lightweights.
“I don’t know if I have killer instinct or not,” stated Cofone. “I’m just confident in my skills and love to compete. I never meant to be as active as I have, but NEF keeps offering me fights that intrigue me and I just can’t say no. It’s not just about W’s or L’s with me—it’s more about the opportunity to test myself against tough guys. But of course winning is always more fun. Another factor in taking all these fights is that I’ll be 32 this winter and the window of competing at your highest level closes on everyone.”
Now, at “NEF X”, Cofone is scheduled to face his toughest test to date when he takes on Florida’s Mark Graham (3-1) in a scrap set to headline NEF MMA’s tenth show extravaganza that the promotion has promised to be a celebration of the rapid growth of the sport in the state.
“I don’t know much about my upcoming opponent, but if he’s training with Jamie Harrison, I’m sure he’s going to be tough as nails,” stated Cofone. “Expect the unexpected because I’m learning new techniques every day and just getting better and better and feeling stronger and stronger. I promise an exciting fight. I’m done with decisions. I want to be aggressive. Control the fight at my pace and keep my opponent reacting to me throughout the fight. I’ve been working out a lot with one of my old wrestling coaches, Ben McCrillis so I might just have to dust off some of my old Westbrook wrestling techniques, or I might try some of my new tools I’ve been practicing. Either way, I’m going to try to take that W and have a ton of fun doing it.”
“We are excited about Dom’s potential as a top lightweight contender and candidate to eventually fight for the NEF MMA state title once he makes the decision to turn professional,” stated NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. “We believe he has the dedication, skill, fear-less mentality and toughness to give guys fits as soon as he makes the move. He doesn’t over think the sport and that’s refreshing. He gets in there and flows with the go just like Rickson Gracie advised and the outcome is one dominant win after another. Dom Cofone came out of nowhere, but everybody will be talking about him soon if he continues his streak in September.”
“It’s a thrill to continue bringing Dom back to the NEF cage,” stated NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo. “He really gets it done in there. His wrestling is impressive, but his hands have also matured nicely in a short period of time. He’s as durable as a bag of hammers and he doesn’t show any signs of quitting. Come out and watch what this young man is capable of on September 21st—you won’t be disappointed.”
“NEF X promises to be a stacked card,” stated Cofone. “I can’t wait to see everyone there on September 21st.”
“NEF X” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. Tickets start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com. The card will feature Maine State Featherweight Champion Ray “All Business” Wood (4-0) defending his title against Rhode Island’s Joe Pingitore (4-0-1). Also scheduled is a 155-pound bout between Jon Lemke (3-1) and John Ortolani (7-7) to fill the recently vacated Maine State Lightweight Championship. For more information on the event and the full fight card, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com. In addition, you can watch NEF MMA videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”