Packing a punch and punchlines |

Packing a punch and punchlines

If comedian Nick Pendola tells a joke, you better laugh. He not only has success delivering punchlines but punches as well.

Pendola is a 2000 Nevada Union graduate holds a 1-0 professional Mixed Martial Arts fighting record.

At 57 seconds into the first round of his debut fight, he connected with a left hook followed by a straight righthand onto the chin of his opponent.

“He was falling so I came with two consecutive upper-cuts,” Pendola said. “He was all bloodied up and he hit the cage and then the floor. He was out.”

Pendola fought at 189 pounds on March 6 at the Red Hawk Casino in Placerville at the Gladiator Challenge, a promotional company that Urijah Faber and Rampage Jackson (both of United Fighting Challenge fame) began their fighting careers with.

“He is good at what he does,” said Lisa Jeanson, owner of Powerhouse MMA Training Center. “He is strong, intense and confident.

“His confidence is unwavering, which is so important when you fight. I know he could go far if that is what he chooses to do.”

Jeanson is Pendola’s manager as well as the head coach and manager for the fighters at the Powerhouse MMA Training Center. Nick Sperling is the assistant coach.

“She is a good manager. She told me she would find me a fight and she did,” Pendola said. “She hooked me up with the Gladiator fight. There were a thousand people in the crowd.”

The Nevada County fighter said he enjoys challenges. Some people like to climb mountains and some like aggressive sports.

“I like consentual, justifiable violence,” Pendola said. “I prefer to stand-up and strike. I like to knock people out.”

When the funny man is not training for his next fight in the cage, he is honing his funny bone for his once-a-month show “Gods of Comedy.” Pendola is the show’s executive producer, writer as well as one of the shows six actors.

“The show is a live variety show,” Pendola said. “We incorporate video and music into the act.

“I like telling jokes and fighting.”

Next up for the 27-year-old local fighter is the U.S. Open Brazilian Jujitsu Tournament in Santa Cruz this September. But his longer term goal is to have a professional Muy Thai fight in Thailand.

“He is a beautiful Muy Thai fighter,” Jeanson said. “He has big kicks. I’m so grateful to have someone with drive and determination. I get to go along for the ride.”

Scott P. Hopper is a sports writer for The Union. Contact him via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4231.

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