Fighters fundraise at KatManDu

KatManDu may be known for its drinks and dancing, but tonight many will flock to the popular nightclub for an even better cause.

Allies Inc., a New Jersey non-profit organization for people with disabilities, is hosting a fundraiser Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at the club, located on the waterfront in Trenton. Appearing at the event is Jens Pulver, a mixed martial arts fighter and former holder of the Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) lightweight title, who has fought in front of crowds of more than 50,000. Pulver can currently be seen as a coach on the Spike channel’s “Ultimate Fighter 5” reality competition. Pulver will meet, sign autographs and take pictures with fans at the fundraiser.

“Although his nickname is ‘Little Evil’ – a name given to him by his coach Pat Miletich due to Jens’ extremely aggressive fighting style (specifically, a wicked left hook), a more fitting nickname for Jens would be ‘Big Heart,’ for his dedication to this Allies, Inc. fundraiser,” read a press release from by Allies Inc.

Other familiar New Jersey faces will also be appearing at the event, including fellow UFC star Frankie Edgar, a native of Summit, N.J. who is currently undefeated in his lightweight division.

Edgar’s coach, College alumnus Steve Rivera, will also be in attendance. Rivera is the president of a multi-million dollar computer company and director and head trainer of Elite Wrestling, which trains Edgar and many other notable fighters. Rivera was captain of the College’s wrestling team from 1986-1987, and was the NCAA National Wrestling Champion in 1992. His other credits include an induction in the National Collegiate Wrestling Hall of Fame and being named one of New Jersey’s top 50 wrestlers of all time.

“(College) students can stop by and ask Steve how he became successful in many facets of his life,” Mike Cestero, transition counselor for Allies Inc. and organizer of the event, said via e-mail.

Rivera is not the only College alumus making an appearance at the fundraiser. Kelly Rouba, who graduated from the College in 2002, is also scheduled to help raise money and awareness for Allies Inc. and the disabled community.

Rouba holds the title of Miss Wheelchair New Jersey 2007 and is a freelance journalist and public relations executive. Rouba has written for the Times of Trenton and Pennington Post, worked on projects with the Oxygen television network and is currently serving as a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management in a series of advertisements directed to assist people with disabilities in the event of an emergency. Rouba is also the vice president of public relations for the Central New Jersey Kappa Delta Alumni Association and also sits on the Kappa Delta Chapter Advisory Board here at the College.

The event will also feature Boomer, the mascot of the Trenton Thunder baseball team, music by Flathead Dave, a rock cover band and a raffle. Cestero urges College students to attend, not only for the experience of meeting so many notable sports figures and College alumni, but to help raise money for the more than 1,500 people with disabilities that Allies Inc. serves.

“The bottom line is this: even if no one in the world ever heard or cared about Jens Pulver, Steve Rivera, Allies Inc., KatManDu or Kelly Rouba – this is about raising money for people less fortunate,” Cestero said. “The older generations have often characterized college students as non-caring, unsympathetic, party-going, all-about-me types. Here’s an opportunity to prove them wrong.”

Tickets must be purchased ahead of time and cost $10 with a college ID. To reserve tickets or to make a donation to Allies Inc., call (609) 509-1065.