Destruction MMA, a gym located in Park Hills, MO; has the MMA scene buzzing with its exceptional raw talent and top notch training that molds said talent into the warriors we see battling in the cages nationwide. Home of professional fighter stand-out Alex White (9-0) and owner/trainer Joe Worden. Today we had the luxury of speaking with Mr. Worden to learn about his journey in Mixed Martial Arts and what he's built within Destruction MMA.
Jason Przewoznik: Hey there Joe, thanks for reaching out and accepting my offer to sit down and discuss your story… As all of our normal fighter interviews begin, your story and gym is no exception; let's begin with "Who is Joe Worden?" Tell us about life growing up and what it was that sparked your interest in the growing sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
Joe Worden: Joe Worden is like every little kid growing up, wanting to do martial arts. I began when I was 12 years old doing Tae Kwon Do and Judo. I continued on that path and studied kickboxing and grappling more extensively after joining the Marine Corps. I have always loved the disipline and athleticism of the martial arts. I began teaching MMA in 2008 and found out I'm a better coach than a fighter. I ran my ammy team to 175-28 in my 1st 3-years as a coach. I became head coach for Team USA in 2010 and have travelled to 9 countries to fight. 2012, I was inducted into the United States Martial Arts hall of fame as coach of the year.
Jason Przewoznik: That's awesome man, quite a series of accomplishments! Before going into the corps have you been involved in competitive arts at all or was it purely learning at that point? Do you think being in the corps had an impact on you as a coach?
Joe Worden: I competed in kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do. I won Missouri state championships 3 times. The Marine Corps definitely helped me coach… I might be an aggressive coach, but it helped. (lol)
Jason Przewoznik: Haha, sometimes you need that – a coach that empowers you. I could see the corps providing an excellent background in leadership and providing your students with that extra bit of confidence in their instructor. It also helps when he's won state championships prior to as well! You sir, are definitely someone people would want to learn from and look up to! ….Now that we have a little bit of a background on the man behind the gym, how about you tell us a bit about how Destruction MMA got it's start? What was the plan at it's inception and where is it now today?
Joe Worden: I opened a fitness facility in 2006 after getting my Doctorate in Chiropractic. A couple friends wanted me to start training them. In 2008, I decided to open MMA to the public for fun… We started in a 12×12 room on hardwood floors with puzzle mats thrown down. After 6 months, I had about 15 guys and a couple were wanting to fight. We started in a local show called Cage Championships and I guess the rest is history. As ammy we held 135, 155, 170 twice, and 185 belts in Cage Championships. All together we have owned around 20 ammy titles and my pros have fought locally, for strikeforce, titan, and hopefully UFC is close. So, not bad for a school in a town of 2000 people.
I have trained Golden Glove winners, Ringside World Boxing champions and National Muay Thai winners.
Jason Przewoznik: That's pretty amazing in such a short time running. What's the story behind the name? …and as a gym owner and a man who has trained champions, what would be your best advice to aspiring fighters?
Joe Worden: I'm a marine, destruction is what I cause, haha. Advice? …Work hard! Nothing in life is easy and that includes fighting. But through hard work anything is possible. Listen to your coaches, they want to see you succeed!
Jason Przewoznik: Wise words and pretty simple rules to follow; especially when they, themselves, are trying to succeed. Where is Destruction MMA headed? What are you goals for the future at your home base?
Joe Worden: Keep on the grind. Alex White is very close to the UFC so that will be a rocky story in itself. Small town gym makes it to the top. What a story! I will continue to improve and my fighters will continue to shine!
Jason Przewoznik: Was kind of waiting for the name dropping to commence, haha! …You have a lot of talent inside Destruction; one name in particular, as mentioned, is Alex white. I do hope to snag an interview with him in the near future, but care to share a little bit about him as well as any other names we might see pop up around the nation any time soon?
Joe Worden: You can look for Eric Irvin and Shaine Moffitt to shake up the scenes real soon. Eric is one of the toughest and hardest working fighters I have ever worked with. He is the captain of Destruction MMA and true leader. Shaine is a devastating striker and very young in the sport, he is only 22. Alex White was 15-0 ammy MMA, Ringside World Boxing champ and is now 9-0 pro MMA… He's also 1-0 in pro boxing. The kid has a huge backstory and deserves everything he gets along this journey!
Jason Przewoznik: I definitely hope to get the opportunity to speak with all of them and hear their stories and let the internet know who is on their way to the top! Before I let you go, just a few more questions… Does Destruction MMA have a website and is there any contact information you'd like to share for those interested in speaking with you or your fighters, proposing sponsorships for your fighters, or offering a fight to those at your gym? …and for those in the area, is Destruction MMA an open gym and if so, how does one go about getting information on signing up?
Joe Worden: We are on facebook at Destruction MMA and you can always contact Joe Worden on Facebook. Yes, we are open to the public. If intererested in joining contact me or come into the gym and try us out. 909 E. Main Park Hills, Missouri.
Jason Przewoznik: Awesome man, I thank you for the time and I look forward to working with some of your fighters in the near future. Is there anything you'd like to say, share, or anyone you'd like to shout out before I let you go?
Joe Worden: Want to shout out my team for making me look good, our sponsors who have been behind us, my wife who puts up with the coach and fighter lifestyle. Our management groups and our fans. The fans always follow us and they are who we fight for. God bless and always follow your dreams!
You can also catch Joe Worden at the United States Hall of Fame seminar with UFC Fighter Karo Parisyan on June 19-21 in St. Louis, MO. Details are in the image below.