Niagara Gazette

Sports

August 4, 2013

Tonawanda's Piccolo in fight of his life

Niagara Gazette — The moment Brian Piccolo's feet hit the ground every morning, it's a race against the clock.

"There's just so much to do," said Piccolo, the 35-year-old amateur MMA fighter, whose day job as a subcontractor sometimes means working 70-hour weeks. 

"You can work all day and there will still be stuff to do," he said.

And time has never been more precious.

"It was funny, at noon Shelley and I were in Tampa at the Mofitt Cancer Institute for a doctor's appointment," he said. "(The doctor) told me I had nine months to live." 

Piccolo was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer only two hours before his wedding this past February. 

"Then at 2 p.m. I married my wife. Then at 8 I was in the cage," he said.

Piccolo, a Tonawanda native who wrestled for the Warriors in the early 90s, shares his name with his famous second cousin Brian Piccolo who played running back for the Chicago Bears in the 1960s and whose life, which ended after his own battle with cancer, was famously chronicled in the TV movie "Brian's Song."

Now more than ever Piccolo is cramming as much as possible into every day. He's cancelled fishing trips with his young sons in the past to get a few more hours of overtime, but now he's providing in a different way. When he's not spending time with his family he's building for their future — and the house is almost finished.

Piccolo, who holds an amateur record of 5-4, lost his fight on his wedding night when he got caught in an arm bar submission in the first round, but the fight of his life was just beginning. It’s a fight he and his family are determined to win.

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