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MMA Super-Gyms - In Mixed Arts Gyms, 'Old School' is 'New School'

By Cliff Montgomery,
When it comes to boxing, most people can name the legendary boxers of the sport: Ali, Foreman, Louis, Marciano. But what about the renowned gyms where these legends were forged? What of Miami's famous Fifth Street Gym, which belongs to Angelo Dundee, Ali's renowned trainer? And what about Kronk's Gym of Detroit, the Motor City? The Kronk's Gym has produced several world champions including Thomas Hearns, Michael Moorer, Milton McCrory and Steve McCrory. In Las Vegas there is Johnny Tocco's Ringside Gym, where Marvin Hagler used to train for his Vegas fights.

In the realm of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) there are a handful of gyms and teams of fighters which likewise dominate their own fighting events. Many MMA champs are bred from one of the sport's 'super-gyms' .

Let's be honest, it does takes more than just natural ability and a good trainer to reach the very top of the fighting kingdom. With the UFC becoming more profitable, many fighters are turning to the time-tested methods of the boxing world to succeed.

Someone once said, "If you want to be the best you have to train with the best." This of course is as true in the MMA as it is in any other fighting art. Here are some of the best gyms currently ruling the MMA world:

The Lion's Den
"The top of the food chain" is one the slogans of Ken Shamrock's Lion Den fighting gym, and it's pretty close to the mark. The Lion's Den has been a fighting force for a long time in the MMA arena. Some of their fighters are and have been such great names as Frank Shamrock, Vernon White, Guy Mezger, Pete Williams, Jerry Bohlander, Mikey Burnett, Tra Telligman and of course Ken himself. The Lion's Den first started in Lodi, California, but has now spread to a few different locations across America.

Its standard is still of the highest level, with hard training being order of the day. Champions aren't made in the ring, they are built in the gym. One reason why the Lion's Den has been so successful is its live-in-student program. Ken Shamrock pushes these live-in students as hard as he possibly can, and the result is title after championship title.

Team Miletich Fighting System
In the late nineties one fighter in the UFC lightweight division stood out above all others: Pat Miletich. In the world of mixed martial art he had a fantastic record of 27-5-2 and fought the best of the best, including Carlos Newton, Jeremy Horn, Mikey Burnett, as well as the heavyweight legend Dan Severn.

Miletich has drawn on his experience of being a former UFC lightweight and welterweight world champion. Since the former Iowa State wrestling champ has been training fighters it's been nothing but success for Team Miletich. His team of fighters now often reign in the octagon.

In the nineties the Lion's Den was the team of fighters to beat in the UFC; but Team MFS is without any real doubt now the one setting a new standard in winning championship belts.

Some of the members of Team MFS have included Jeremy Horn, Matt Hughes, Jen Pulver, Tim Sylvia, and Robbie Lawler.

Brazilian Top Team
The Brazilian Top Team was created in April of 2000 by some of the former members of the Carlson Gracie academy (Murilo Bustamante, Ricardo Liborio, Mario Sperry and Luis Roberto Duarte). Their aim was to develop, study and create new training techniques for Jiu-Jitsu and Vale-Tudo. The major strength of the members of Brazilian Top Team is their fine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; for the most part their submission techniques are flawless. They are the benchmark for professional Jiu-Jitsu fighters all over the world.

Some of the members of the Brazilian Top Team have included Murilo Bustamante, Rodrigo Nogueira, and the 'Zen Man', Mario Sperry.

Russian Top Team
The Russian Top Team was named shortly after the Brazilian Top Team came into existence. Members of the Russian Top Team are Sambo and Judo specialists with strong skills in wrestling.

Fedor Emelianenko, Bazigit Atajev and Mikhail Illoukhine have trained here.

Takada Dojo
Takada Dojo is quite legendary in Japan. Its fighters are constantly found in MMA events, shoot-boxing and Japanese professional wrestling. Takada Dojo's founder, Nobuhiko Takada, was one of the most famous wrestlers in Japan, a true fan favorite. When the PRIDE Fighting Championship started, Takada Dojo filled many of the fight cards to the delight of the Japanese fight fans. The Takada Dojo has produced such fighters as Takada himself and Kazushi Sakuraba.

Team Quest
Team Quest is a relatively new team put together by some of the most experienced North American wrestlers and mixed martial art fighters. Team Quest will probably make its quest successfully. Among its fighters? Randy Couture, Evan Tanner and Dan Henderson.

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