Everyone deals with getting older differently.

When some turn age 50, they start looking down the road, perhaps at filling out their own AARP cards.

However, 50-year-old Pat Kelly of Rockport explored a different acronym.

Kelly, who is the Camden Hills Regional High School wrestling coach and biology teacher, earned a win in his first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) amateur welterweight bout on Saturday, Sept. 6 in the New England Fights’ “NEF XIV” at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

Kelly, who also is the owner of Kelly's Driving School, scored a first-round submission victory over Frank Dellasalla. He made his younger opponent tap out when he used a rear-naked choke at 2:12 of the first round.

“It feels great,” said Kelly of the win. “I'm a competitor, and that is why I headed down this path about a year ago.”

Kelly made the decision to make the trek to Bangor and check out an MMA gym and walked through the doors of Young's MMA.

“It was about trying to make some new friends, cut away from the wrestling world a little bit and venture off into this MMA world,” said Kelly. “In the back of my mind I thought, 'Well, I wouldn't mind competing,' but I didn't know if an old guy like me would be able to.”

Kelly's coach, Chris Young, texted Kelly in July that he had a fight lined up for him, and before he knew it, his match with Nate Charles, a veteran fighter who has been in the octagon eight times, was slated to be put on the card.

However, Charles “backed out for various reasons,” Kelly said, and Dellasalla took his spot in the octagon.

“He was young,” said Kelly of Dellasalla. “He'd been in it a couple years and it was his first time in the cage too and I think he was a little intimidated. If you hear you're fighting someone that's 50 and he used to be a wrestler and you kind of figure, 'Well I think I can handle it.'

“That might have been his first mistake.”

Kelly said he connected on a couple left hands and, with his obvious wrestling pedigree, was looking for an opportunity to shoot the legs.

“Once I'm in on a leg, I feel confident that I can take command,” Kelly said. "Once I got him to the ground on his back, he didn't like the flurry of punches [I was hitting him with] and I was very patient.”

Moments later he cinched in a rear-naked choke and shortly thereafter, “it was tap out time,” said Kelly.

Kelly's wrestling credentials are impressive, which started during his years as a student at Camden-Rockport High School in the late-1970s and early 1980s, where the 1982 graduate won a individual state crown his senior year.

He then became an All-American wrestler at the University of Maine in Orono.

Kelly later joined his brother, John, on the Camden-Rockport High School coaching staff and helped lead the Windjammers to 10 state Class B titles between 1990 and 2002, then became head coach in 2003 and guided the Windjammers to three more state crowns before stepping down in 2006.

He then retook the reins of the program last year and led the 'Jammers to yet another state title. Kelly also is a member of the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame and was inducted in 2007.

He has coached many talented wrestlers over the years, most notably Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch, who had a homecoming of sorts when the Lincolnville native scored a win by TKO over Brad Tavares at UFC Fight Night 147 Aug. 16 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Boetsch is a ranked fighter in the UFC's middleweight division and had a reunion with Kelly in August while training for their respective fights.

“I did get a chance to train with him a little bit when he was preparing for his fight,” said Kelly of Boetsch. “In fact, I got a chance to roll with him. It was a great reunion.”

The two sparred at Young's MMA in Bangor, which in many ways, was like old times for the former student and teacher.

“At the end of the night we were doing some jujitsu and some grappling and we were doing five-minute rounds,” he said. “At the end of the night it was about over and he said 'You got one more in you?' And I said, 'You bet buddy.' "

“Obviously he was in complete command,” said Kelly of Boetsch. “At one point we were both in the wizard position and it was just poetic. We both sort of stopped and he said 'How many times have we both been in this position before in the past?' It was just a great moment.”

As far as his next fight, Kelly is unsure when or if that will come, but his determination is clear.

“I will go again,” he said. “I'd like to ride this as long as I can. It's a joy for me [and] it's a tough sport. I like the training aspect of it, I like the discipline of it, I like the respect the fighters give each other even though there's hype before matches.”

Kelly said he hopes to inspire people and be a role model for younger generations — and older.

“If you're older, it's not too late to get to make small changes to get to where you want to be,” he said.