Biography

THE STORY OF CALEB MITCHELL

Like most fighters, Caleb didn’t jump into Mixed Martial Arts overnight. His training started at home long ago as the youngest of six siblings. His early years were spent as a punching bag for his older brothers, yet this was not the catalyst for Caleb’s interest in the sport. After watching the first UFC on VHS, something stuck out to Caleb. It was the introduction and bio of the Gracie family, a family of Brazilians who took the old art of Kodokan judo and made it their own by implementing more grappling and ground fighting. This system of fighting made it possible for a smaller individual to take on a larger individual and allow the smaller opponent to take control by using the larger opponent’s weight against themselves.  This intrigued Caleb so deeply; he got out the yellow pages and looked up Gracie. To his surprise, he found that Cesar Gracie’s academy was just across town.

                After graduating from high school on June 14th 2000, Caleb decided to make fighting his profession. His first professional fight took place at the International Fighting Championships, “Warriors Challenge 8”. His opponent: Takayuki Hosakawa, The outcome:  tap out on Takayuki via arm bar 3:29 seconds in the second round.  After obtaining the Win at the “Warriors 8” and then again winning two consecutive gold medals at both the gi and no-gi Gracie opens in 2000 and ‘01, it was apparent to Caleb that he could fight anyway and win. This is essentially when Caleb started give back to the sport that had already given him so much. Alongside Casey Strand, Nick and Nate Diaz, Caleb started to teach and mentor other fighters who were also coming up in the pro world of MMA.After winning consecutive gold medals, it was essential for Caleb to take his training to the next level.  Along with grappling every day, Caleb started to branch out into boxing, kick boxing and triathlons. If Caleb was not at the Gracie Academy, or with the Diaz brothers running sprints, he could always be found at the Gracie academy with Team Black working on his strikes and punches. Upon going 2-0 in the IFC (International Fighting Championships) Caleb’s shot had finally come. Fighting at 135 pound lbs. in the bantamweight division, Caleb was offered a shot at the title belt. It was April 11th 2001 at the “Warrior’s Challenge 12” where Caleb made one of the biggest strides of his career. After seizing the title belt via arm bar 7:42 seconds into the second round against Lincoln Tyler (heavily respected purple belt), Caleb was awarded with his blue belt at the fight by his Instructor Cesar Gracie and Mentor, Dave Terrell.  With Gil Castillo, Nick Ertl and Steve Heath all reigning from Cesar Gracie and fighting in Warriors Challenge 12 alongside Caleb, the congratulations for his belt and win made the whole experience feel like a dream. For Caleb, it was more about feeling at home, then it was about his insecurities. When Caleb was in the ring, he was exactly where he wanted and needed to be.
Shortly after being awarded his Blue Belt Caleb showed that he truly deserved this new prestige by winning gold at the 7th annual US Open going 3-0, and winning all matches by way of submission. With another year of training, Caleb’s level of competition grew stronger as did his desire to win. At the Las Vegas Open, Caleb met his toughest challenge yet, defeating both Scott Epstein and (Renzo Gracie Black Belt) Alan Teo in the finals to win Gold, where he also received his Purple belt alongside respected friend and rolling partner Jake Shields. With a higher belt comes higher competition, yet this never seemed to matter to Caleb. It was now time to take on the world’s best, competing for the “World Title Belt” at 145 pounds.  While fighting for Shogun, Caleb fought valiantly against Baret Yoshida (Black Belt) yet lost via guillotine in the first round.  Even though it was his first lost, it was against the best in the world in the black belt division.  If anything, this showed Caleb that he belonged in the top percentile of fighters in his division. Not long after, for the most publicized fight of Caleb’s professional career he was flown out to Japan to fight Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto where he was stopped short of victory. This loss lit a fire inside of Caleb’s heart, burning like never before, his desire to win and teach his students graced his every action.
With his devote focus on Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Caleb was able to promote several students to level of Blue Belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu along with one Purple Belt and take home Gold in the 2009 and 2010 Gracie Open’s before being promoted himself to the level of Brown Belt by Cesar Gracie. Through all his accomplishments, Caleb has established himself as not only one of the most talented and hardworking fighters in the world, but also one of great respect and discipline.