As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to grow and achieve heights many never imagined possible, certain pillars will develop throughout the community.
Obvious examples are fighters like Couture, Fedor, St. Pierre, brands like Tapout and Silver Star, and gyms like Xtreme Couture and Black House.
Another strong representative of MMA is the gym and camp found at the Throwdown Training Facility in Las Vegas. A strong brand in the sport of MMA, Throwdown has become another integral part of the MMA community.
With fighters like Forrest Griffin and Evan Dunham of the UFC training there, enthusiasts can see that the Throwdown family is top shelf in this game.
Hurtsbad.com recently had the pleasure of speaking with John Wood of the Throwdown Training Facility. Wood discussed everything from local amateur promotions in the Vegas area, The Ultimate Women’s challenge, as well as children’s MMA.
First he talked about the facilities found in the heart of Sin City, the fight capital of the world.
John explained that someone looking to train at Throwdown can expect to find a full array of services spanning a 10k square foot facility. World class coaches in various disciplines. 25 heavy bags, various mats, and a full size weight training facility.
He was proud to boast a brand new 30 foot state of the art octagon by Throwdown, one of the nicest in the country.
Also he discussed their children’s programs. In light of the programs they offer to local Las Vegas youth, he talked at length about his take on children mixing into the realm of martial arts, and MMA in particular.
“I think its great” John said. He believes the interest in the sport by today’s youth is going to take it to new levels.
“It’s crazy, kids are coming into class already knowing what arm bars are, and triangle chokes, and leg locks just from seeing the TV and seeing their favorite fighters perform this stuff.”
He discussed the benefits of training a child in martial arts, beyond the physical aspects. “I think all martial arts as a whole have their good and bad, but I think it’s great for kids to learn self defense, discipline, and confidence.”
John was sure to point out though that coaching is the key. “One of the things with MMA being so popular, if it is taught right, if it is taught proper by good instructors, I think it’s great. I think it’s awesome that the kids love it so much.”
He went on to say, “Some kids can’t wait to come and train, and I think that is really awesome for the sport and the growth. I mean this next generation of fighters, I’ve got kids already who have been training for ten years, I can’t event imagine when they become fighters how phenomenal the fighters are going to be here shortly in the future.”
Speaking of the next generation of mixed martial artists on the rise, Wood touched on one of the most reputable and successful amateur shows in the world, Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships.
Tuff-N-Uff is run by Barry Meyer, a member of the Masters Hall of Fame. “I know Barry real well, I’ve known him since he started doing shows out here from Day 1. We have had a lot of fighters in their shows. They are real fair. I would say they are probably the premier amateur show in the country.”
“More and more every time I go to their shows it’s packed. They are bringing in fighters from all over the country. That’s pretty unheard of to have guys (amateurs) coming across the country to fight here in Vegas.”
He added, “The show is great, they have some really good guys, they are helping churn out some really good fighters. I think it is good for the sport and that Barry is doing a really good job with it.”
Wood and his wife Amber Nichole Wood are participating in the filming of NBC’s Ultimate Women Challenge. The show has similarities to the structure of The Ultimate Fighter, an MMA based reality show, except in this case its the ladies living, training, and competing together.
John Wood is a coach and his wife Amber is a host. John discussed his take on the experience.
“Currently we are filming the show right now, getting ready to wrap it up. We have sixteen of the top women in the sport, some big names who have fought for big organizations like Strikeforce, Elite, as well as some greener girls who are coming up.”
“It’s a totally different format, it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. These girls are basically in a house living together with all the trials and tribulations that come with having to live with sixteen other girls, and they are getting ready to fight.”
And after spending all that time couped up in a house with sixteen people who wouldn't be ready for a fight?
Wood cherishes the opportunity. “It has been a crazy experience, it has been awesome, something that I'm really fortunate to be able to have. They got me on as a coach of some really cool women. I’ve definitely made some good relationships and friendships with these girls. I think it’s going to take women's fighting to the next level.”
Wood acknowledged the long road ahead of women’s MMA competition. But he knows this could be the opportunity to force this important aspect of the sport into the eye of fight fans world wide.
“We know that with any women's professional sport it’s going to take longer. And if they get off at all they are always going to be behind the men. Hopefully, like The Ultimate Fighter did for men, hopefully this will push the women to the next level. I think it’s going to be a great show.”
Wood is not alone in his hope for the success of not only the Ultimate Women Challenge, but women’s MMA as a whole as it comes along with an entire sport still struggling to gain credibility.
This man has many irons in the fire and he is, making his mark on the sport of MMA on multiple levels. As a coach, a competitor, an ambassador, and a fan John Wood is a name fight fans should remember.
He is knee deep in mixed martial arts and the sport is better for it.
To hear this interview in its entirety visit Hurtsbad.com and select the radio link.