Castillo lands Ultimate Fighting Championship deal |

Castillo lands Ultimate Fighting Championship deal

Matt O'Neill

Gil Castillo never thought he’d get to this point.

The mixed martial arts fighter has slowly been building his reputation in the industry and soon all his hard work will pay off.

With three title belts already on his resume, the South Lake Tahoe fighter recently signed a three-fight contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and will make his debut on Sept 28 at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas against Dave Menne for the middleweight title.

“The reason they’re giving me the shot is because I have three different titles and I’m undefeated,” said Castillo, 16-0. “Instead of giving another UFC middleweight a shot it’s because they want to explode the show with marketing.”

For his fourth title, Castillo will have to gain about 20 pounds and take on the No. 1-ranked fighter in the world in Menne. The fight will be one of three title bouts on the card and will be the first mixed martial arts fight approved in the state of Nevada.

“We decided to approve the mixed martial arts because it has changed a lot since it started about six or seven years ago,” Nevada Athletic Commission’s Executive Director Marc Ratner said. “At one time they had no rules at all. Now there are about 30 rules and we feel it’s much safer.”

With ultimate fighting bouts now taking place in Nevada, the fighters will be required to pass a battery of tests to get licensed like boxers.

“They took a hard look at the events and decided it was safe enough,” said Castillo, who trains at Time Out Health Spa & Fitness in South Lake Tahoe. “We’re going to have to get licensed in the state and take all sorts of tests three days before the bout.”

The card dubbed ‘Victory in Vegas’ is building up as one of the biggest in the history of the event, and UFC has planned a press conference in Los Angeles and hired Carmen Electra as the spokesmodel. There is also a massive print campaign planned, with advertisements is major publications such as Sports Illustrated, Maxim, GQ and Stuff.

With all the hype and amount of publicity surrounding his fight, Castillo decided it was his best chance to get noticed.

“Win or lose, I’ve made it to where most fighters want to be,” he said. “We just sat down and figured this is the best shot for me to get a chance at a title with the UFC.

“If I had stayed in my weight class it would have taken me at least a year to get a shot at the title with UFC.”

But Castillo is not resting on his laurels, he is out win the title.

“This will be my fourth title and I want to win it,” he said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.