Carmelo Marrero (born January 26, 1981) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division. He has competed for the UFC, the WEC, Bellator, the IFL, and the XFC.
Marrero was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Douglassville, Pennsylvania. He was diagnosed with cancer at a young age and eventually was able to overcome the illness. Marrero began wrestling for Daniel Boone High School in Berks County, Pennsylvania and placed sixth in the state tournament as a Heavyweight. Marrero had originally wanted to attend Rider University after graduating from high school, decided to attend Gloucester County College for two and a half years where he set multiple records. Marrero was sidelined by a near-fatal car accident which took him six months to recover, but later came back to win over 40 matches and qualify for the Junior College National Tournament. Marrero later transferred to Rider University where he became the team captain and was a two-time national qualifier. After college, Marrero began venturing into mixed martial arts.
Marrero's first five professional bouts were against local opponents in small fight promotions along the New Jersey shore. Marrero would go on to win and dominate all five bouts before being signed by the UFC.
Marrero made his UFC debut against a much larger and more experienced opponent in Cheick Kongo who already had two wins for the organization. Marrero used his superior grappling skills to control the bout and won via a split decision.
In his next fight he faced Gabriel Gonzaga, with the winner to get a shot to fight Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović for the #1 contender spot; Marrero lost this fight in the first round via submission due to an armbar submission. He dropped down to the Light Heavyweight division to face Wilson Gouveia at UFC 71, but was again defeated via first-round submission and was then released from the UFC.
Marrero competed for American Top Team's camp in the International Fight League and made his debut for the organization on April 4, 2008 at IFL: New Jersey where he faced Mike Ciesnolevicz. The fight was ruled a no-contest after an accidental headbutt in the first round.
Marrero made his WEC debut on November 5, 2008 at WEC 36 against Steve Steinbess and won via split decision.
Following his win against Steinbess, Marrero returned to the UFC on April 1, 2009 facing Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 18. He lost the fight via unanimous decision, and was released from the promotion once again.
Carmelo was set to make his promotional debut with Bellator at Bellator 69 against Seth Petruzelli, however the bout was canceled the day of the event due to Petruzelli not being medically cleared to fight.
Marrero made his Bellator debut on October 19, 2012 at Bellator 77 against Lew Polley and lost via unanimous decision.