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Sea Kings meet Salter

Professional mixed martial artist fighter, a close friend of CdM assistant coach Montgomery, gives special instruction at CdM camp.

July 30, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

John Salter kicked up his feet after working out with wrestlers at the Corona del Mar High camp on Friday. The professional mixed martial artist fighter sat next to CdM assistant coach Ryan Montgomery, the person most responsible for Salter being in town to help high school and middle school students.

Montgomery is also the reason why Salter pursued the sport of MMA.

If it were not for Montgomery introducing Salter to MMA seven years ago, when the two wrestled at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., Salter said fighting would not be the way he earns a living.

"When we were freshmen in college, he was always talking about Tito Ortiz," said Salter, who because of Montgomery was forced to watch the Huntington Beach Bad Boy's fights. "I was like, 'I don't know who that is.' He's like, 'You got to know who that is!' It made me watch the videos and then I started thinking, 'I can do that.' "

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Salter has been fighting as a professional for 17 months now. He is 5-1 and his next middleweight bout is at Ultimate Fighting Championship 118 in Boston, where he faces Dan Miller on Aug. 28.

Most of the two dozen wrestlers at the camp have been following Salter's career since the spring. Back then, Salter showed up to a CdM practice and the teenagers asked for his autograph.

Now, they just want to learn Salter's signature moves.

Salter worked with the wrestlers after his flight from Atlanta, Ga., arrived at John Wayne Airport just before 10 a.m. The wrestlers by thas time had already ran two miles and lifted weights.

They longed to learn from a pro after dealing with Montgomery and Coach Gary Almquist. Salter felt right at home.

"It's fun because it reminds me of being in high school and how we used to practice during the summer," said Salter, who wrestled at Gardendale High in Alabama and reached the state finals in Division 5A three times, winning once.

"It's also refreshing to take a break from MMA and get back to wrestling."

Salter's focus for three days at CdM is purely wrestling, no jiu-jitsu or kickboxing. He can even eat or drink whatever he wants until he said he returns to Nashville, Tenn., where he trains.

Montgomery teased Salter, saying, "Is that because your coach isn't here to monitor?" Montgomery knows the drill of making weight, having been a two-time CIF State qualifier before graduating from Edison High in 2003.

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