Mark DellaGrotte never thought getting hit with a boxing glove would lead to getting bit by the acting bug.
DellaGrotte (Twitter: @MarkDellaGrotte), owner of Sityodtong gym in Somerville, Mass., is a world-renowned martial artist. After devoting his life to many walks of martial arts, DellaGrotte moved to Thailand to train Muay Thai kickboxing under Kru Yodtong, and then he was appointed as one of two US representatives eight years later.
As martial arts modernized and MMA popularized, DellaGrotte grew with the times and began instructing mixed martial artists. Martial arts have served as DellaGrotte’s vehicle for travels and opportunities that span the world, but when Kevin James walked into Sityodtong in 2010, it led to an opportunity the Bostonian couldn’t see coming.
“I never looked at martial arts to do half the things I’ve done in my life,” DellaGrotte told Jason Kelly on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “I never knew that martial arts would take me around the world and show me different cultures, I never thought that martial arts would help me provide for my family and keep a roof over their head. I certainly never thought martial arts would land me alongside an actress like Salma Hayek or an actor like Henry Winkler in a major motion picture. I’m truly blessed at what the sport has done for me and I’m truly grateful.”
James, star and director of “Here Comes The Boom,” offered DellaGrotte a role in the MMA-romantic-comedy as himself; an MMA cornerman. DellaGrotte gladly accepted the proposition. He worked with the aforementioned Winkler and Hayek, as well as “King of Queens” star James and fellow martial artist Bas Rutten on “Here Comes The Boom,” which he described as all great co-workers.
“It was a tremendous experience,” DellaGrotte said. “I’m glad that I got to contribute to not only the growth and prosperity of the sport, but I also got to appear in a major motion film.”
While playing cornerman to James’ character, Scott Voss, DellaGrotte was called upon to give some insight behind the scenes,
“Kevin and I had discussed prior to the movie, alongside Bas Rutten,” DellaGrotte explained. “He said, ‘Hey, look, if there is anything we’re doing in this movie that is not the way it is supposed to be, let us know.’ There was one particular time that I can remember. I was wrapping his hands once and there was no commissioner there. We all know that in the state of Nevada, if a fighter is getting his hands wrapped, there’s a red coat watching. There was one particular scene where it was off and Bas and I had to play the director role.”
DellaGrotte said acting is something he never imagined himself doing, and playing himself was not a big challenge, therefore, he would like the chance to play an actual character. He enjoys the fun roles, but could even see himself be cast as a serious martial artist in a film.
Martial arts is DellaGrotte’s true passion, so don’t expect him to abandon his lifestyle in an effort to win an Oscar, but don’t be surprised if you see him in front of the camera again.
“The one day I said to Kevin (James), ‘I think I got bit hard,’” DellaGrotte explained. “Bas said, ‘I think I got bit hard,’ you know, he mocked my Boston accent and we laughed about it. (Rutten) said, ‘You got bit? You love this stuff, don’t you?’ I said, ‘How could you not?’ I get to hang out with cool people, I get to do what I like to do – in this case it was mixed martial arts- and I get paid to do it all. It wasn’t much, but it was a great experience and something I would thoroughly enjoy doing again.”