Phillipe Nover ‘The Filipino Assassin’ is a Healing Nurse

This article by John Sapida was originally published at The FilAm as part of Fi2W’s Immigration Lab.

Blue scrubs by day, Lycra shorts when he has a match.

Such is the intriguing ‘double life’ of Phillipe Nover, a cardiac catheterization nurse and a mixed martial artist who goes by the formidable fighting moniker, “The Filipino Assassin.”

The job description of a nurse is quite a feat already. Imagine pursuing a second career as a mixed martial artist.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Phillipe was born to a Filipino mother from Quezon City and an American father of Polish descent. He calls himself a proud Filipino-American.

“My mother sent me to the Philippines every summer for a few months (when I was a kid). I absorbed the culture completely,” he said in an interview with The FilAm.

 He is not only a fighter in the octagon, but also a nurse in the cardiac cath department of his hospital where one of his duties involves insertion of a catheter to determine a patient’s heart condition.

“Being a fighter and a nurse is difficult at times,” he said. “I have to know when to turn on the mean Phillipe in training and when to turn on the healing Phillipe at work, but I do enjoy both professions very much,” he said.

His parents enrolled him in self-defense classes as young boy “since I got into fights in grade school,” he tells, the website of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. From there he went through a progression, from Karate to Kung-fu, Arnis, and Muay Thai.

“After a friend of mine heard of mixed martial arts, we decided to give it a try. He did well it in so I gave it my first try in 2003,” he recalled. His father, an operating room nurse, thought his son should also try nursing for professional stability. As he enjoyed learning about the human body, Phillipe decided to follow his father’s suggestion.

Phillipe graduated from SUNY DownState Medical Center with a bachelors’ degree in Nursing. He has been a registered nurse in New York for 10 years now with some experience as an Emergency Room nurse. He currently works in the cardiac cath department and is also a registered cardiac invasive specialist.

“I try to keep my MMA business away from my patients but the few who find out are very surprised,” he said. “They don’t understand how a caring nurse like myself could get in a cage and hurt someone.”

Phillipe has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and over the last five years, he has been developing his skills in wrestling and boxing. He trains at gyms such as Renzo Gracie NYC Academy, Church Street Boxing, and Edge Hoboken.

“Being able to do both (martial arts and nursing) is a big challenge in itself,” he continued.

Outside these two professions, Phillipe enjoys travelling, playing poker, playing video games, eating out and trying new places.

“Aim high and have a game plan on how to get there. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams” is his message to those aspiring to be a nurse and/or a mixed martial arts fighter.

The greatest lesson he has learned from both of his professions is “to let nothing stand in your way and to connect with only positive people and people that inspire you.”

Nover thanks his fans for all of their love and support. He faces “The Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam at UFC Fight Night 65 in Manila on May 16, 2015. Tune in to FoxSports 1 to watch it live.

This story is part of Immigration Lab, a partnership between Feet in 2 Worlds and media serving immigrant audiences in the New York metropolitan area. Support for Immigration Lab comes from The New School for Public Engagement.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.
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