December 2022

“It was Christmas Eve, babe. Innnnn the drunk tank (shark tank), an old man (Jason) said to me, won’t see another one….”

Merry Christmas guys, lets wrap up the year with what’s been going on at the Academy the last few weeks.

In the last blog, I mentioned the valuable connections and alliances with numerous other gyms that the MMA Academy has.

In reeling off the list of these great gyms, I missed out probably the most obvious – KC Fightbase.

KC Fightbase is based up in my neck of the woods in Kirkby, and is headed up by Jay Campbell and Kyle Keane.

Our gyms are now so closely intertwined that we have at least 5 or 6 fighters that jointly represent both clubs.

One such fighter was in action at the weekend – Kurtis Campbell made his professional debut on the big FCC card up in Bolton.

Kurt put on a flawless display in gaining a first round stoppage, and 2023 promises BIG things.

But as I was saying with gym connections, and following suit from the last blog on MMA Academy Formby, where two the Academy’s OG’s have branched out with their own gym, we can now add two more to the equation…

Liverpool Combat Academy and Elev8.

It’s December which means it’s time for Santa…Nic Santa that is (I’ll get my coat!)

Elev8 is the brainchild of Nic Santangelli and will be actually based within the MMA Academy premises, whereas Liverpool Combat Academy will be head up by Loz Fitzpatrick and opening in Fazakerly in January.

Both Nic and Loz are two of my best mates from the gym.  Both will still be coaching and competing for the MMA Academy.

There’s not much I can say about Loz that I haven’t already said before, and you can find the details for his gym here. I haven’t set foot down there yet but I’m looking forward to going for a mooch as soon as he’s opened shop and reporting back with an update.

Nic’s gym is already up and running, the details are here, he’s been working with a lot of Academy’s athletes already and the biggest compliment I can give is to say just look at the shape Kinny is in.

Mark Kinsella was always a very good and underrated fighter…but looked like someone had bought a trifle from the Asda, threw a shirt and kecks on it, pushed it into an MMA gym and said “go on lad, do some of that UFC.”

But (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) since starting the Elev8 plan he’s developed a serious physique – you should see the arms and chest on him!

Whilst Elev8 is based within the Academy, and has taken over the old weights area downstairs, it in no way compromises what’s available to Academy members – all the S&C gear is now upstairs for people to use in their own leisure.

The good thing about Mike Wootten, Jay Owen, Loz and Nic all branching out is that it’ll actually only make the MMA Academy stronger.

What you’ll find with a lot of MMA gyms is the coaches (over time) tend to be former students, so the principals of the gym remain the same.

It’s like a legacy from head coaches Jason and Peter carrying on and on. There’s an MMA Academy element all over Liverpool and the North West, and at this rate there always will be!

December normally finishes with some nice traditions. The annual kids party and awards was held in the rollerdome not far from the gym. I wasn’t there myself, but from the pics it looked like everyone had a laugh and it’s unbelievable the amount of talented kids we’ve developed at the gym in such a short space of time. It seems like yesterday when the ‘Kids Explorers’ program started at the Academy and we opened the doors for the younger crowd. There’s definitely some future stars amongst the ranks (there’s already some absolute stars as well, domestic and international titles galore) but the best thing you can say about the program is how much fun the kids always look to be having whilst training and how much they enjoy being there.

Lastly, I was present for the other December tradition – the annual iron man, where selected guys and girls move up the BJJ ranks and get promoted to the next belt.

This year we had JP Lavelle and Sean Rigby progress from blue to purple belt; Patryk the problem Zaborski and Mike Roberts move to Brown belt; and Bruno Yukio, John Moffatt and another true MMA Academy OG and absolute hero, Antony Jones receive their black belts.

Pic of the guys who received their new belts
The iron men!

To say it was emotional was an understatement. Bruno’s and Jonesy’s speeches had my lip quivering like I’d just watched Bambi, The Green Mile then Marley and Me back-to-back.

Then a couple of days later, 3 more students gained their purple belts with Ben Johnston, Callum Rowlands and Cassie Alpaslan levelling up. Rumour has it Jason is giving out more belts than you’ll find in the Matalan menswear section. I’ll have to dust off the gi and get into a few more comp classes while he’s in the spirit.

Have a good Christmas everyone and see you on the mats in the New Year 🙂