September 30, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Why Southern California is a hotspot for UFC and MMA fighters

If you have ambitions to be an MMA fighter or are interested in learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Southern California is probably the best place you can be.

Although long associated with sunny beaches, palm trees, and movie stars, the Southern California area is also one of the best in the entire world for current and aspiring MMA fighters and combat sports enthusiasts.

There are several reasons for that, including the local fighting communities, top-tier MMA gyms, and the introduction of Southern California’s own fighting league.

The Fighting Community

First off, there’s the local fighting community. San Diego, for example, has one of the largest Jiu-Jitsu communities in the entire country. That translates to a large number of BJJ academies and a vast pool of fighters.

Of course, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is the largest in the United States, which translates to a large population. A large population means more fighters, as well as potential fighters.

This history stretches back to the founders of modern-day Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu — the Gracie Family. Rorion Gracie, for example, first settled down in Southern California in the 1960s and eventually started a grassroots BJJ movement there.

There’s also a heavy military presence and a long association with both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps in San Diego. This military presence is likely why the city is filled with great amateurs and professional fighters — military members are already trained warriors.

With so much competition and so many potential sparring partners, the BJJ community in Southern California boasts not just numbers but top-tier skill and talent.

The Gyms

All of those fighters have to train somewhere, and the Southern California region is no slouch when it comes to world-class combat sports instruction.

Southern California has some of the best fighting gyms in the world — including The Arena Jiu-Jitsu School in San Diego.

The Arena is notable because the BJJ program is headed up by legendary MMA fighter Baret Yoshida, who is a 3-time IBJJF Black Belt World Champion, a three-time ADCC medalist, and the only man in history to compete in the ADCC 10 times.

Of course, The Arena isn’t just a Jiu-Jitsu school. Potential members will find many fighting classes here, ranging from boxing to grappling to Muay Thai. All of the instructors are just as professional and experienced as Yoshida.

The Arena isn’t the only combat sports gym in Southern California, but it is perhaps the best example of one. It’s both the oldest continuously operated martial arts academy in North America and the largest on the continent.

And it’s trained some world-class fighters, too, such as Cris Cyborg, Diego Sanchez, Xande Ribeiro, Fabrico Morango, Joe Duarte, Rick Slaton, and Pat Speight.

The Leagues

Those top-tier fighters have to compete somewhere, which brings us to local fighting leagues. The Southern California region has a few noteworthy standouts.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship, of course, occasionally holds fights in Los Angeles and sometimes promotes events in San Diego. But the latter city also has its own fighting league.

Cage Warriors is an Irish-owned MMA promotion based in the United Kingdom. However, the headquarters of the promotion’s arm in the U.S. is in San Diego.

Back in 2021, Cage Warriors held its first fight in San Diego, leveraging the large pool of fighters in the city for both competitors and spectators. That was just the beginning for the promotion, however.

The president of Cage Warriors, Graham Boylan, says that his goal is to create a team of fighters who can compete with other MMA and combat sports experts across the country — and internationally.

While San Diego’s MMA and BJJ communities are vast, the city’s pool of talent is largely untapped. With Cage Warriors arriving in the past few years, that could change drastically in the future.

Cage Warriors isn’t a second-tier fighting promotion, either. It’s largely seen as an accelerator for UFC talent. In fact, more than 100 Cage Warriors fighters have made it onto a UFC card since the promotion’s inception in San Diego.

In other words, if you want to break into the MMA or BJJ sphere — and potentially compete at an amateur or professional level — then Southern California is the place to be.

in News
Related Posts

Man Charged for Setting Fires Behind Seven Santa Monica Businesses

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

John Dean Thomason faces seven counts of arson By Sam Catanzaro A man faces charges for seven counts of arson...

LA Metro Lifts Mask Mandate

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

Masking no longer required at LAX as well  By Dolores Quintana As of September 23, Los Angeles County has lifted...

City Officials Considering Spending $29 Million to Replace Santa Monica Pier Bridge

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

City of Santa Monica releases EIR For Santa Monica Pier bridge replacement By Dolores Quintana The City of Santa Monica...

SMa.r.t. Column: City Council Endorsements

September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022

Editor’s note: These following endorsements should not be attributed to the Santa Monica Mirror. They are the opinion of Santa...

LAHSA’s Homeless Count Accuracy Questioned

September 29, 2022

September 29, 2022

LA City Council motion would require that LAHSA’s count be assessed independently  By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro After the...

Fresh Corn Grill Closes Santa Monica Location

September 29, 2022

September 29, 2022

Restaurant ceases operations September 23 By Dolores Quintana Fresh Corn Grill, a small chain based in Westwood that serves “a...

Santa Monica’s Love Coffee Bar Expanding to Mar Vista

September 29, 2022

September 29, 2022

3519 S Centinela Avenue location coming for popular Santa Monica coffee shop  By Dolores Quintana Love Coffee Bar, a Santa...

Dr. Jane Goodall Speaking at Youth Event Wednesday at Temescal Park

September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022

Seven Arrows Elementary hosting event Wednesday for students from around region Seven Arrows Elementary, an independent kindergarten through 6th grade...

Five Santa Monica Artists Awarded City Artist Fellowships

September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022

The $16,000 Artist Fellowship will be presented to painter and sculptor Meg Cranston The City of Santa Monica awarded five...

Santa Monica High School Orchestra Program Presents Disney in Concert Around the World

September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022

Submitted by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District For the first time since the fall of 2019, the Santa Monica...

Trailhead Improvement Project Begins at Cheeseboro Canyon

September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022

Access to trails will continue, but use of temporary parking lot required The National Park Service is revitalizing the trailhead...

Santa Monica Man Killed by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies After Hitting a Deputy With Car and Attempting to Attack Him With a Knife

September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022

Marlon Bonds shot by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies Saturday night in Rancho Cucamonga  By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica...

Man Arrested for Santa Monica College Sexual Assaults

September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022

Christopher Noah Griddine II being held on $1 million bond By Sam Catanzaro A 27-year-old man has been arrested for...

SMa.r.t. Column: SMCLC Rejects Gelson’s Project

September 26, 2022

September 26, 2022

This week our SMa.r.t. column is guest written by the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC). They are...

Framing Nearly Complete on Lincoln Blvd 47 Unit Mixed Use Building: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – September 26th, 2022

September 26, 2022

September 26, 2022

Property, Developments, and Listings on the Westside.* Framing Nearly Complete on Lincoln Blvd 47 Unit Mixed Use Building* City of...