Inside America's Gyms

I’m not sure if there are more mixed martial arts gyms or plastic surgeons in California, however, if you are looking for the latter then Beverly Hills is the place for you. If it’s a quality, MMA school or training center that you are searching for, there’s an overabundance of them all along the Golden Coast.


The website currently lists approximately 2000 gyms in the state, and several are run and operated by MMA pioneers who continue to teach, coach, and share their knowledge with a new generation of aspiring fighters.


This month, Inside MMA and FIGHT! go to three California training centers that might not get the publicity that the mega gyms do, but they are still producing and training some outstanding fighters.


Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center


Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Founder/Owner: Tiki Ghosn


Fighters Who Train at HBUTC

• Quinton Jackson: UFC Light Heavyweight
• Rob McCullough: Tachi Palace Lightweight
• Michael Bisping: UFC Middleweight
• Cheick Kongo: UFC Heavyweight
• Ricco Rodriguez: Former UFC Heavyweight


What You Don’t Know

• Locals call the Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center the birthplace of MMA in Southern California, and many MMA pioneers, including Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture traveled to HBUTC to train early in their careers.
• HBUTC recently moved from a strip mall to a new 10,000-square-foot, state of-the-art training center only a block away. The new gym used to be a Ferrari dealership.


What Separates HBUTC From Everyone Else?

The 10 years of history and classic stories. “One time I was training with Tito Ortiz, rolling around, and I’m not sure if he never wore underwear while he was training or just forgot it or something, but as I was rolling with him, I noticed like half his scrotum fell out, so I just tapped out. And he said, ‘I didn’t get you or nothing,’ and I said, ‘No…no…you did enough!’”—Rampage Jackson


Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA


Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Founders/Owners: Bas Rutten, Ken Lawson, and Randy Kahtami


Fighters Who Have Trained at Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA

• Mo Lawal: Strikeforce Light Heavyweight
• Duane Ludwig: UFC Welterweight
• Mike Pyle: UFC Welterweight
• Jay Hieron: Bellator Welterweight
• Benji Radach: Strikeforce Lightweight
• Mark Hominick: UFC Featherweight
• Sam Stout: UFC Lightweight
• Chris Horodecki: UFC Lightweight
• Ryo Chonan: Deep/Dream Welterweight


What You Don’t Know

• The gym employs one of the top self-defense instructors in the world, Sam Shade, who teaches Krav Maga and uses the striking and ground techniques from the Bas Rutten MMA System.
• Bas continues to train Elite Special Forces at the gym.


What Separates Bas Rutten’s From Everyone Else?

“They have me! HAHAHAHA!”—Bas Rutten “The gym itself has a lot of character. The personality of the gym mimics Bas’ personality. He’s like a light bulb that always stays on.”—Randy Kahtami, head trainer


NorCal Fighting Alliance


Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Founder/Owner: David Terrell


Fighters Who Train at NorCal Fighting Alliance

• David Terrell: Former UFC Middleweight
• Joe Soto: Bellator Featherweight• David Mitchell: UFC Welterweight
• Kyle Pimentel: PFC Welterweight• Gil Castillo: Former UFC Welterweight
• Nate Loughran: Former UFC Middleweight


What You Don’t Know

• David Terrell was awarded his black belt under Cesar Gracie, and no one has ever scored a point against him in a grappling match.
• Dr. Gary Furness is a fight doctor for the state of California and treats the NCFA team for free.


What Separates NorCal From Everyone Else?

“Everybody is pretty much made here. We don’t get a lot of UFC fighters that just come to NorCal. We don’t really want somebody who has defected from another school.”—David Terrell, head coach

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