FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2017, file photo, retired professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino examines U.S. rower Amanda Polk's Olympic gold medal at the 81st Dapper Dan Awards and sports auction, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh. Sammartino met with pop singing sensation Bruno Mars on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, when Mars' 24K Magic World Tour stopped in Pittsburgh, after Sammartino heard Mars was nicknamed "Bruno" as a baby because Sammartino was Mars' father's favorite wrestler. (Haley Nelson/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)

Bruno Mars meets source of nickname: Bruno Sammartino

August 23, 2017 - 11:42 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bruno Mars has met the man he's nicknamed after: former pro wrestling champion Bruno Sammartino.

The two met Tuesday night when the pop singing sensation's 24K Magic World Tour stopped in Pittsburgh.

Sammartino heard through friends that Mars, born Peter Gene Hernandez, was nicknamed "Bruno" by his father because he was a "chunky" baby. The wrestling legend — now 81 — was about 275 pounds in his prime and the favorite wrestler of Mars' father.

Sammartino says he was "extremely impressed. ... He was the most humble, nicest guy. He couldn't have been more respectful."

Mars accepted a replica of Sammartino's championship belt from what was then known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation. The promotion is now World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE.

Mars posted a picture of the meeting on Instagram.

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