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Lessons at the University helped alumnus IFL fighter

By Mandy Balionis

While the University's Academic Bulletin suggests many paths for students to take, your major does not always limit what you can do with your life. Bryan Vetell, a 2000 graduate of the University, pursued a goal that may not be listed in the Bulletin, but it is now serving as his career and passion.

Bryan Vetell is a professional fighter. He is in the International Fight League (IFL), a league which someday hopes to have the same recognition and financial stability as a professional baseball or football team. This form of fighting consists of a mixture between wrestling, Brazilian wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu. He is a part of the New York based team, the Pittbulls. All eight teams in the IFL consist of five members: lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight. Vetell falls into the latter category.

Competition has always been in Vetell's blood since he was young. In high school, he was a successful wrestler, not only winning the Empire State Games in 1994, but also earning All-American standing in 1995 and 1996. When Vetell entered Hofstra University, he chose not to wrestle anymore and to focus on his future and major in Philosophy. However, at 20 years old, Vetell found his competitive spirit and wasn't ready to be pinned down just yet.

As a sophomore, Vetell developed an interest in the art form of competitive fighting and began training. This hobby transformed into a passion when he continued to train the next six years before joining the Mixed Martial Arts organization, which eventually led to a career in the IFL.

Vetell didn't just fall into this career. Like everything else he has done in life, dedication, heart and hard work all played into his success. Vetell said that the University helped him understand the importance of hard work to succeed."In the same way that I approached academics in Hofstra, where it was my entire life, it took all of my time. [For the IFL] I had to put everything in perspective and sacrifice what maybe I thought was important before."

Vetell not only credits the University for fostering his work ethic, but he says it also helped him improve his skills in the social world. It is a repeated phrase at Hofstra University, "It's not only what you know, but who you know" and Vetell learned that in the four years here.

"Dealing with the people at Hofstra made me much more open to the types of people I would meet out in the world and in the country. Also dealing with the University, in things like say financial aid or the different academic departments, I learned who to deal with, bureaucracy, and understand exactly how long things might take."

If he were to give college another try, Vetell says he wouldn't change a thing, because his mistakes are what made him what he is today.

Vetell is an intense guy in every aspect of his life. His commitment to his passions have allowed for the immense success he has had throughout his college and now professional years. The University has taught him not only how to cope with people and with his environment, but also how much giving 100 percent really does pay off in the end.

Vetell (back left) fights in the IFL.

Vetell (left) wins a match on a Fox Sports Network broadcast.

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