Everyone has a nickname, whether they know it or not. Some are flattering. Others are humorous. And some are degrading. Most times our nicknames are given to us by our family or piers and become part of who we are. Every-now-and-then, the meaning of the nickname transforms over time to mean something entirely different from its origin. That’s the case with UFC lightweight Danny “Last Call” Castillo.
Castillo received his nickname while wrestling at Menlo College in Atherton, Calif. His teammates dubbed him “Last Call” stemming from his ability to consume alcohol and still perform at a high level during morning runs.
“When I was wrestling in college, my college teammates pretty much gave me that nickname. We had a bowling alley in the area and every Thursday night they had fifty-cent beers. We’d go there in the offseason. We’d party. We’d bowl. Drink a ton of beers. The next day we would have offseason runs at 7 or 8 a.m. in the morning. Being hungover and having a ton of beers in me, I was still able to come in first, or the top-three of those runs. My teammates were like, ‘you’re a (expletive) nut.’ So that’s where it originally started,” Castillo explained to MMAWeekly.com.
The nickname stuck. But as the years passed, the meaning of “Last Call” transformed from its bowling alley beer origins to represent something entirely different.
“Now that I’m sober — I’m close to two-years sober — that nickname has changed completely,” said the now 34-year-old fighter.
Today, more than a decade removed from his college wrestling days, “Last Call” represents an unfulfilled promise and the closing door on opportunities to live up to a son’s pledge to his mother.
“I gave my mom a promise when I was in high school that I would win the state title in wresting. That didn’t’ happen for me. I wrestled at junior college. And again, my second year at junior college I was 24-1. I went to the state tournament. I had a terrible tournament, fifth place. I went to the four-year level. I made it to the national finals, and I lost by a couple of points. So this is my last shot to stay true to that promise I made to my mom because one day I plan to be the world champ,” he said.
Castillo has gone 6-2 in his last eight outings. He’s coming off a knockout win over Charlie Brenneman from UFC 172 on April 26. He’s climbing up the division’s rankings. But at 34 years old, this could be his last chance to become a champion, his “Last Call” to live up to a promise he made his mother while a teenager.