Kennesaw, Georgia. Just about 20 miles north of Atlanta, a small college town, former Civil War shipping center, and famous for passing a law, in 1982, that the head of each household must own a gun.¬† What you might not know is this area is an MMA hotbed. Folks in this area have a legitimate, world class facility to train at, sporting not one but TWO Professor Pedro Sauer BJJ Black Belts, and some fine striking coaches as well, who we will meet in a moment. I sat down with one of those Black Belts, Co-Owner and trainer Juan Guevara to find out a little bit more about the Striker Fight Center, and some of the fighters who train there.
Craig Nelson: So, tell me a little bit about Striker Fight Center, how it got started.
Juan Guevara: Striker Fight Center opened a year ago, when my best friend, Steven Broughman, he’s the other trainer who gets the guys ready to fight, approached me with a friend who wanted to invest in a gym. At the time I had a smaller operation gym called TUF Martial Arts. The investor made it possible for us to have a more and better equipped training facility. I had already had my gym, TUF for about 5 years, and Steven and I had been putting guys to fight under TUF. I lost the name in the merger, but no complaints!
CN: Would you say you are more of a family based gym or a fighter based gym?
JG: Although the gym is opened for everyone to train (we cater to kids, women, people who don’t wanna compete) it’s Steven’s and my dream to put fighters in the UFC. Steven takes care of the striking (although he’s a fellow 1st degree Black Belt in BJJ), and I take care of their ground! We also have an Olympic boxing coach in Nate Livramento, and Coach Johnny Dunn helps with the Thai Boxing.
CN: So tell me about your BJJ background…
JG: I got my Black Belt from Professor Pedro Sauer via Eddie Camden. I recently got my first degree from Pedro this past April. Pedro has been considered one of the most technical BJJ instructors in the world. He’s Rickson Gracie’s top guy. I’ve been training since 2000.
CN: Nice. Tell me about some of your other instructors, in a little more detail…
JG: Steven Broughman, who is also a 1st degree Black Belt under Pedro, has been involved in martial arts for over 30 years. He’s trained in Thailand, China, and all over the US. He trains the fighters’ striking. Coach Nate Livramento is an Olympic coach who has over 40 years experience, he also helps with the fighters’ striking, and he’s one of the best corner & cut man around. Coach Johnny Dunn is our Thai instructor and our latest addition, he’s also trained in Thailand and brings over a dozen years of experience.
CN: Sounds like a great crew. Tell me about some of the¬† fighters you work with…
JG: We have a team of about a dozen fighters. Gerry Tena just won his 3rd pro fight and has a combined ammy/pro record of 10-1 with a couple of ammy titles along the way. We’re very excited about him. Scott Farhat is another pro fighter with a 4-2 record who we’re very optimistic about. Nick Beal, his twin brother Chris Beal, and Cody Maiden are all undefeated ammys who are looking to have great mma careers. Nick Beal is 4-0 as an ammy and we’re very excited about him. He’ll be fighting this Friday in Mt Pleasant, SC against a very tough Christian Johnson. Also Rusty Transue is a seasoned ammy at 5-3 who’ll be fighting a fellow wrestler in Corey Sullivan this Friday as well. Both of those bouts should be great for all MMA fans to watch.
CN: What’s the name of the venue and what time?
JG: Fight Night at the Point is the event, and the action should start at 7:00. It might be televised locally, but the promoter was working on making that happen. It’s at the Omar Shrine Temple, Mt Pleasant, SC.
CN: What would you say your philosophy is at Strikers Fight Center?
JG: At Striker FC we focus on training our members in a positive, family-like environment, where no one has to worry about being intimidated by the fighters or the training itself. We believe in training for a real life situation first, and then tourneys and fights. We train weapons as well as striking, clinch, and ground, as we believe everyone should be well rounded, not just the fighters. Our schedule is very flexible from Monday through Saturday to try to meet everyone’s off work/school times.
CN: Any famous fighter’s that stop by now and then?
JG: Urijah Faber is a good friend of ours who paid us a visit in October. Good luck to him in his up coming fight against Dominick Cruz!
CN: Any sponsors you’d like to give a shout out to?
JG: Thanks to our new sponsor Turf Warrior and all they do for our fighters!
CN: Awesome shirts. How bout a final thought?
JG: People ask me all the time why I do what I do… I’d love to think there’s no malice or evil in this world, or that we will never have to fight for our safety, but that would be wishful thinking.
Everything we do in life is based on repetition and timing, add technique in the mix and you have a very good set of skills!
CN: Amen to that, my friend. Thanks for spending time with us today, and best of luck to your boys in their upcoming fights. Have a great day my friend.
JG: You too brotha!
Image courtesy of Striker Fight Center