Monday, 1 November 2010

Gym of the Month - Elements MMA

On Sunday, a few friends and I made the drive to Elements MMA in Birmingham.

The gym was the location for a seminar on refereeing and judging in mixed martial arts and was written and presented by none other than UFC referee Marc Goddard.

As it currently stands, there is not a governing body in UK mixed martial arts and, as Marc was quick to remind, the responsibility is on the individual to ensure a high standard of professionalism at all times.

The course was interesting and is a huge step for both validity and safety for the sport in the UK, but I was also really impressed with the venue.

Elements MMA is a Mecca to all that is mixed martial arts and I was able to grab a few minutes to chat with Marc about the gym and his visions for the future.

What was your first involvement with mixed martial arts?

Wow! Now you're asking! I have been involved in the MMA scene here in the UK for the last ten years plus, and the martial arts a lot longer still [not giving my age away here…….] If I may be so bold or boring as to state, it is advertisement after all…

• 2 x Combat British Open Grappling Champion

• 2 x Submission League Heavyweight Champion [inc quickest submission]

• Submission League Absolute Runner-Up [losing to Jeff Monson in Final]

• SNGC National Champion

• Urban Gorillaz Absolute Champion

• 2 x Urban Gorillaz Heavyweight Runner up [losing to Jeff Monson in final]

• ADCC European Trials Runner Up

• FILA World Grappling Games UK Trials Champion

• FILA World Games UK Coach [Switzerland 2008]

• UK Storm Heavyweight Champion

• Grapple & Strike Super Heavyweight Champion
• First ever UK appointed Referee for the UFC

• First ever UK Referee to be licensed to officiate for UFC in the US [UFC 101 Philadelphia August 2009]

• First ever UK Referee to take charge of a UFC Main Event [UFC 105 Couture Vera November 2009 and again UFC 120 Bisping Akiyama October 2010]

Briefly explain the history of the gym.

The gym was a realization of a dream for me; I have long been associated with other peoples gyms and done things that way. I longed for a place to call my own where I could develop the gym as I wanted, the fighters as I wanted and the classes as I wanted.

It was a long time coming for me but well worth the wait, now I have the place to call my own and the rest, as they say, will be history! My very early traditional JJ instructor Paul Harrison played a big part in who I am and the ethos that I go by. It then moved onto Steve Brindle form the infamous Stevie B’s Gym right at the start when Braulio Estima first came over to the UK as a brown belt, both of whom I owe huge gratitude and remember always with fondness and love.

Boxing coaches Spencer McCracken and Paul Gough also played a big part in who and how I have become as a mixed martial artist today. From these people and life’s experiences I learnt so much and it has definitely helped shape me for what I have become and how my MMA game is transferred to others.

What is your vision for the gym?

My vision for the gym is to take my time, our time and establish the name of Elements MMA. A lot of people in the UK will know my name and some of the fighters associated with me, now it’s time to attach the Elements MMA name to it! We already have Champions past and present associated with us. It is not a race for me, not a sprint. I want the most solid, built on reputation earned with time, blood sweat and tears. The old school way – the best way.

Who are the coaches and what are their backgrounds?

Well you have myself who people will know, we have Mick Broster who I have known for many years. Mick was a former competitor who brings a wealth of experience to the gym, he and I differ so much in our approach, styles and game and that is what makes it work so well. I would take Mick over a hundred “names” in today’s game as he knows what it takes and is as reliable as they come.

We have Chris Cooper teaching the stand up [striking for MMA] side of the game, Chris has fought in MMA, Thai and K1 and his striking really is up there on a level with the best, anyone who saw his fight with the veteran Alex Gould on the K1 road to Japan show will testify to that. We also have the new bloods in Dave Hill and Tom Breese. Dave Hill is the current OMMAC British featherweight champion and was the AMMA British lightweight champion also. Dave recently lost a decision to the highly ranked and super talented Tom Niinimake in Finland, this was Dave’s first loss in 10 professional contests, and at 9-1 as a pro and still only 23 years old he has it all to go in front of him.

I am so proud of him and his work ethic and discipline is second to none. Tom Breese is an un-defeated 9-0 amateur who recently made his pro debut on the BAMMA Reid v Watson card. Tom is a very talented young lad and at 18 years of age remains a frightening prospect. Mick Broster has done a fantastic job with Tom in the last few years and will continue together with me to unleash him on the UK welter weight scene.

We also are about to unleash some new blood on the next AMMA, one to watch will be the newly crowned Combat Sports UK Champion James Dixon. We have some awesome talent at the gym right now, pure British Champions.

What range of classes does the gym offer?

The gym is open to all levels and offers classes for fighters, mid levels and complete beginners. We cater for MMA and everything is with that slant and bias on it with a directly experienced past. We have drilling / sparring classes, open mats, Striking for MMA, Dirty Boxing, Submission Wrestling, Wrestling for MMA and Conditioning classes amongst others.

As more and more MMA gyms open up over the coming months what do you feel is unique about the gym?

Elements MMA gym is unique because even though the gym is new the people associated with it have the history, the tangible and credible actual history – not some made up glitz and glamour but real trace-able history with bona fide achievements and credentials. Elements MMA is a family first and foremost and anybody out there representing the name will have my blessing and I can tell you this, that will not come without its price!

What is the most gruelling training session that the gym currently runs?

I am pretty sure that the guys would testify to the Saturday MMA conditioning class!

How would you sum the gym up in a sentence?

No nonsense, true, proven and complete Mixed Martial Arts taught from the heart.

What are the plans for the gym for the future?

As I touched on before, building on the reputation of the people, fighters, students and myself associated with the gym. Its not about me now, I had my time and enjoyed it immensely, it is now the time of all the others ready to come through and if me and the guys at my gym can help those guys achieve those dreams then I can rest a happy man.

Thank you very much for having me!

It's great to have a recognisable figurehead like Marc in the UK as his experience and willingness to share it can only be a bonus for the sport in this country. Elements MMA is not only a well equipped gym but, with Goddard at the helm and his staff of diligent coaches, it will surely grow into one of the most talent rich environments in the country.

No comments: