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Usual Suspects: The 7 People You Meet in an MMA Gym

Westport Boxing MMA Gym Sifu Chow
(“We train every aspect of MMA at this school — striking, grappling, conditioning, *and* pass coverage.” Photo courtesy of

By CagePotato contributor Chris Colemon

A new year is upon us, and for many of you disgusting fat bodies that means you’ve resolved to get into shape. For those who haven’t already thrown in the towel, you’ll want to make sure that your workouts are enjoyable, otherwise you won’t stick with it for the long haul. If you’ve ever beared witness to the fitness of the modern warrior, you may have noticed some pretty yoked dudes. Thanks to the variety of disciplines involved, MMA training provides an intense, well rounded workout.

The good news for you is that MMA gyms are popping up in every city, and whether you’re hoping to make a title run or simply looking to drop a few pounds, they’ve got a pair of board shorts in just your size. But before you sign up, be forewarned that not everyone you meet will be as likeable as your GSPs and your Jon Joneses. Here’s a quick rundown of who you may be sharing snorkels with at the gym. If you find yourself thinking, “There’s no one at my gym like that,” you may want to look again.

The Armchair Blackbelt: You learned all you needed to know about this guy when you saw him leaning on his bike in the parking lot. Today may be his first day at the gym, but he was watching the UFC before Brock was even champ, so do yourself a favor and go teach someone else how to slap on an armbar. He’ll play along and do these silly little drills for now, but after today’s performance he’s pretty sure the coach is going to want to move him out of the beginner’s class. He’s a ball of coiled, nervous energy, and the second he hits the mat he’s going for a gogoplata. Down the road he’ll make guest appearances at the gym, if only to tell you how he would have smashed his last opponent were it not for that nagging knee/back/skull injury that’s plagued him since he joined the team. Even when he doesn’t actually train, he’ll ask you to snag a picture of him fist-posing cageside so he can update his Facebook.

The Sadist
: He burned his neighbor’s cat when he was nine and he’s been chasing that same high ever since; he’d all but given up when he stepped foot into an MMA gym for the first time and totally crippled someone. His inner beast has no leash, and the slightest suggestion that he isn’t the alpha male at the gym will set it loose. Training jiu jitsu? He’d sooner elbow you in the face than tap. Accidently butt heads while sparring? Here comes the body slam. There is no half-speed, there is no practicing technique. His only saving grace is that he’s found an outlet for his aggression. Without MMA, he’d be forced to unleash his wrath upon the unsuspecting public.

The Hot Chick
: She’s a raven haired, impossibly-built goddess and she actually laughs when you make a Yamma joke. She’s God’s gift to mankind, but make no mistake, gentlemen — she’s a threat to your very existence. If you thought your girlfriend was mad when she found that photo in your sock drawer, just imagine what she’ll say when she sees your new sparring partner. It’s well established that no one wants to lose in front of a hot chick, so you can look forward to your teammates going for broke whenever she’s around. The last but most important conflict you’ll face will come from within. You’ve spent the last few years defending your sport from your asshole friends, swearing that there’s nothing even slightly sexual about jiu jitsu; now you’re riddled with doubt as you try to suppress the Dongbar swelling in your gi every time you roll with her.

The Express Train
: In the few days he’s spent at the gym he’s quickly become one of its hardest workers. He doesn’t know an arm triangle from a side check kick, but he’s willing to train every day as if his very life depends on it, and in a lot of ways it does. That’s because he’s already booked his first fight for next month. Sure, he may still be a little rough around the edges a few weeks from now, but he just wants to get out there and bang. Hey, do you know anyone at RVCA? He’s hoping to get a couple thou for his shorts. He knows he has to pay his dues, but he’s kind of hoping Joe Silva makes it out to the Tallahassee Iguana Bar just the same.

The Self-Proclaimed Assistant Coach
: He was a charter member at the gym, and he’s in pretty tight with the coach. Sure, he’s not the worst guy there, but when push comes to shove he can’t possibly back up all that tough talk. Rather than climbing into the cage and putting his skills to the test, he’d rather stroll around the gym pointing out the slightest imperfections in everyone else’s technique. You’d actually appreciate his insight and advice if not for the smug attitude with which it’s conveyed.

The Lost Cause: Ahhh time and pressure, you hope they give you diamonds but you end up with fecaloma. No matter how much time our hero spends in the gym, he just can’t put it all together. He’s the only 17th degree white belt in history, because the BJJ coach won’t promote him unless he’s really earned it. Despite countless 1-on-1′s with the boxing trainer, his head movement still looks like that interpretive dance you saw on the BBC. Nonetheless, everyone wants to see him succeed and they’re willing to give him every opportunity in the world to improve. In the meantime, he makes for one hell of a grappling dummy.

The One & Done: The constant nagging from his girlfriend to find a hobby had nearly consumed him when he opened that ValPak envelope and saw the “One Free Month” coupon to his local mma gym. For him it seemed like a great way to stay active; for her yet another opportunity to laugh at his failure. He showed up to the gym wearing pajama pants and a frat tee shirt from ‘99 — no mouthpiece, no cup, no clue. Halfway through the warm ups he started to regret that second helping of lasagna at lunch. He promises he’ll come back next week when the bruises heal from the savage beating he took. You will never, ever see this person again.

Cagepotato Comments

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jojojammy- September 17, 2011 at 8:32 am
I wouldn't mind meeting this chick at the gym
jeanclaudetransam- January 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm
lot of white collar guys in my bjj class. sadly, i'm probably the token grappling dummy
fatbellyfrank- January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm
@ mtnthc, guilty as charged, white, middle class late 40's douche who's never gonna fight professionally, I basically only do cardio these days, but fuck me theres some young guys out there who just dont seem to get the importance of cardio in ANY sport ( well maybe not darts or snooker)
Enricho Palazzo- January 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm
"I pick things up...and put them down."
LB_Fargo- January 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I totally went for a Gogo before my first month was even over.. haha
irish brawler- January 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm
ground fighter, youre so right she always dates the biggest cunt nugget there..

what about the parent who lives vicariously through his child, and sits around for 4 hours a day while they train and goes around trying to coach everybody and act like they know what the fuck theyre talking about?
Clyde- January 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm
I know each of those guys. And in fact am some of them. Except as hard as I look at my place... no hot chick :(
mtnthc- January 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm
@RwilsonR, a bit older and you have the "mid-life crisis", so I guess I am a white collar mid-life crisis douche, funny thing I still can out cardio 90% of the young bucks, just getting to damn slow...hahahahahaha
O Chan- January 10, 2011 at 11:37 am
No, I see where you're going. I give you props for that.
RwilsonR- January 10, 2011 at 11:35 am
^^^ Yeah, I forgot about that. I was more talking about his reliving his old football stories on the show, but you are right about that. Except I think it is from Rorion, not Renzo.
RwilsonR- January 10, 2011 at 11:34 am
Another one to throw on that list:
The Al Bundy - the guy in his mid-thirties with a bit of a belly, who is surprised that he sucks wind after 30 seconds of doing anything, because he used to be in such great shape. He constantly regales everyone with stories of how great he used to be - how much he used to bench press, and how far/fast he used to run - during his glory days, which likely peaked somewhere around the time he scored his only touchdown for his high school football team.
O Chan- January 10, 2011 at 11:31 am
@RwilsonR - The real Al Bundy (Ed O'Neil) actually has his blackbelt from Renzo Gracie (I believe it's Renzo, but I could be mistaken)
Get Off Me- January 10, 2011 at 10:40 am
You left out the one who stands around in the locker room after training on Hawg watch.

I train Muay Thai, very elementary level jits here, but the girl in the gi may have more than staph so when the cup comes off make sure to put the hat on gentleman..give her the Rampage/Arona treatment and she'll be sure to call you back.
PurpleDickMeat- January 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

More bullshit from the mouth of a cat loving cock boi! You're prob the "self proclaimed assistant coach" to an "armchair" 17th degree white belt, the same color as your semen addicted mustache. You're the tiny "Dongbar" in Lesnar's jockstrap everytime he sees himself in the mirror. I bet you'd love to get DP'd by the Diaz bros while Shinya cock flosses your teeth sportin spandex with a cut out just big enough to put his baby dick thru. Like, what's your name? Where do you train? What have you fought in? At least I can admit that I'm nothin but a die hard fan for over a decade, the only time I wanna get punched in the head is when I'm bein barebacked from behind by a BIG one! So shut the fuck up you smug pussy bitch! Go get fucked by all the mma fighters you want to! But once again, stay away from the Reem feltch, he's mine you fuckin sausage chute!
Lysol- January 10, 2011 at 9:51 am
Great article, but "Yamma jokes" is a redundant phrase. Just say the word YAMMA in front of an MMA fan and you will get some cheap laughs. It's just like the comments section, no punch line required.
GroundFighterMMA- January 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
The Hot Chick: She also undoubtedly dates the biggest asshole in the gym.
DARKHORSE06- January 10, 2011 at 9:18 am
@ DeepHalf - Understood. But I gotta say Im pretty sure a tranny is a transvestite, like a chick who looks and dresses like a dude and vice versa. As a dude, Ive gotten pretty good at spotting dudes over the years and Im telling you this chick looked and acted like a dude. Maybe she was a post op dude? I dont know. I got confused and then scared. What were we talking about?
DeepHalf- January 10, 2011 at 8:59 am
Darkhorse, I've done my share of Naga Newark so I know what you mean. Sounds like you're describing a lesbian and not a Tranny. We've had lesbians at some of my gyms, and even guy guys, and they were always very nice folks.

I've been going to my local LA Fitness down the street from my house to hit bags and lift (ok and do some salsa with the ladies). But these guys come up to me all the time and ask me about my mma training, how long I've been doing it, what I train in etc. There's always a look of disappointment though when I tell them that I'm not at all looking to go pro.

I explain that pros train their ass off 40-50 hours a week for several months for a fight where they might win 1,000 if they're lucky. But, to no avail. I guess that's why most guys make up a story about how they've got a couple of local fights lined up that they need to win and get their shot at the UFC.
DARKHORSE06- January 10, 2011 at 8:36 am
@ DeepHalf - regarding the new to NAGA / GQ comment - I have seen all those guys but nothing was worse than last months GQ in New Jersey. Holey fuck! It looked like a drifting convention.

What about the -

"Im trying to get back into pro fighting guy" - the guy who claims he has 2-3 pro fights in the Canada area and gets stomped by the hot chick?

The Tranny - No shit there was this dude we were all slapping on the back saying "good job dude" and "hang in there buddy" and "the mens room is right there" and it turns out this fucking thing was a chick!!! A huge tattood flat-top-wearing dipping fucking chick!!! (Note: this is not our hot chick).
O Chan- January 10, 2011 at 8:35 am
Yeah... Kind of describing myself on that one too. I'm a douche.
DeepHalf- January 10, 2011 at 8:30 am
O Chan, guilty as charged. But, I usually pay for a couple of extra rounds of brews for the boys.
O Chan- January 10, 2011 at 8:16 am
You forgot the White Collar fighter. Sure he has decent skills both on the ground and standing up. But he knows he's not going to get into the TUF house anytime soon. And why should he worry? He's got the BA, MBA, JD, etc on his card. He knows his place in the gym. Let's face it, he's only doing this so he can brag to his colleagues during his weekly Wednesday three-martini power lunch that he can scrap. The only thing that really gets under your skin is the constant talk about the market, how much friggin' money he makes, and his latest vacation at some resort where you wouldn't be let in to use the lobby bathroom.
DeepHalf- January 10, 2011 at 8:08 am
@Karma, yeah absolutely right. In all seriousness, I find that the toughguy newbs who stick around generally follow the lead of the more senior guys and start mellowing out in their 3rd month or so or shortly after their first tournament.
KarmaAteMyCat- January 10, 2011 at 8:01 am
Shinya aoki does Gi though as do many like him.


True stories. Though once in awhile you see some kewl scrubs come in with their tapout shorts and their not terrible people. Just gotta show them the light at the end of the tunnel.
DeepHalf- January 10, 2011 at 7:59 am
@Dflash, that's why you wear a cup!

No joke, my buddy from the gym, bad ass purple belt in only 3 years, is in a serious relationship with a chick from our gym who is also a pretty bad ass fighter too. So, maybe I take that back, don't wear a cup.