Billy Quarantillo is a mixed martial artist who fights out of Matt Arroyo’s Gracie Tampa South in Tampa, Florida. Billy is most well-known for his appearance on season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, which aired in 2015. The season was coached by UFC legend Urijah Faber and The Notorious Conor McGregor. During the first episode, Billy was given the nickname “Channing Wahlberg” due to an answer on his fighter questionnaire.
Since the show aired, Billy has built his experience and worked towards another appearance inside the octagon. In the four years since The Ultimate Fighter, he doubled his fight experience, headlined shows in front of sold-out crowds and even captured a lightweight title for the King of the Cage promotion.
There were a lot of unusual circumstances that led to Billy Quarantillo becoming a professional fighter, as it was not always the plan. Born in Ransomville, a small town in western New York near the Canadian border, he made his way to Tampa after earning his Associate’s Degree in college.
Once he moved to Tampa, the plan was to attend The University of South Florida with the hopes of putting his existing credits towards a Bachelor’s Degree. Upon registering for school, Billy found out that he would have to pay out-of-state tuition unless he became a Florida resident for at least a year. This caused him to put off college for a year so it would be a more financially responsible decision.
Taking a year off and working as a cook meant that he would have some free time, which he quickly learned that he enjoyed filling with martial arts at Gracie Tampa South in 2010. He began training with Master Matt Arroyo, who would eventually give him the guidance he needed to make it on the cast of The Ultimate Fighter, since Arroyo himself was an alumnus of season 6 of the show.
In 2018, Billy experienced another incident that appeared to be a major setback, but turned into something positive – he tore his ACL. For any athlete, this is a devastating injury and as a result, he spent many weeks unable to sleep due to the discomfort. After several weeks of losing sleep, he decided to become an early riser. When he woke up from the pain of his knee recovering, he stayed awake and went to Crunch Fitness to perform upper-body workouts. He would keep this routine even after his knee was healed and developed a true rise-and-grind mindset. Billy also developed a relationship with Driven Fitness. After they helped him with his rehabilitation, Billy continued to attend strength and conditioning training with Driven and credits them for the transformation of his body in the past year.
Jumping back to Quarantillo’s audition for TUF, he knew that he had to find some way to stand out from the rest of the fighters who all wore rash guards and shorts covered with sponsor logos. He decided to do his one-minute grappling match and 90-second striking display wearing a three piece suit. This definitely left an impression on the casting committee because his suit along with his MMA record would earn him a spot on the cast.
To hear more about Billy Quarantillo’s story, check out the full interview with him on episode 148 of the MMA on the Rocks Podcast.