Grant Brothers MMA’s first anniversary gala a smashing success
By Matt Larkin
Excited MMA fans lined up out the door.
Major TV stations.
An Octagon, a boxing ring and a training floor full of exciting MMA demonstrations.
If you took a look around Grant Brothers MMA on Sunday, November 21, you were probably impressed.
And you probably got the impression that this was a long-established gym — maybe a decade old. But, believe it or not, Sunday’s anniversary gala celebrated the amazing strides Grant Brothers MMA has made in just one year of existence.
“It’s the first time I’ve been to this gym and it looks awesome,” said UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy, who was on hand for Sunday’s festivities and left his Mohawk at home in England. “Obviously there’s a big turnout today with a lot of people and supporters. I’m assuming the gym’s going to do well. I know they’ve got a strong brand name already and I think that’s going to help bring talent to the gym as well.”
Boxing trainer Ryan “RG” Grant, one of the Grant Brothers MMA co-owners, discussed the rapid success of his brand. At their gym in Montreal, they opened with 20 or 25 members, he said. But Grant Brothers in Toronto had 60-plus members from the outset and has already grown to 300 in its first year.
Why are prospective fighters coming to Grant Brothers in droves? Ask anyone involved and they’ll tell you the same thing: Grant Brothers is making a name for itself with its phenomenal coaching staff. Among those coaches are UFC newcomer Sean Pierson (wrestling) and Strikeforce BJJ expert Wagnney Fabiano.
“Sean Pierson being the great wrestler he already was and a great MMA fighter, and now getting signed to the UFC – it adds extra ‘oomph’ to the business here,” Grant said. “Wagnney being here is also crazy.”
Grant added that top-notch UFC fighters like Mark Bocek, UFC No. 1 lightweight contender Gray Maynard and Claude Patrick come by to train once in a while, which raises the gym’s profile.
“When the actual members see these guys, they’re like ‘Oh my god!’” Grant said. “It’s a freakout.”
Hardy gave a similar impression. He said that Grant Brothers “has got some good coaches here,” that the gym has lots of potential, and that he’s “looking forward to coming back in a couple of years’ time and seeing a flourishing gym.”
Pierson, who will make his UFC debut next month in Montreal, explained that it isn’t just the talent on hand that makes Grant Brothers’ special. It’s also the culture.
“it’s really easy to get along with people here,” Pierson said. “That’s big for me. Whether it be the students, the athletes or the trainers, they’re very personable. “
The way RG sees it, Grant Brothers is only just getting started. He said on Sunday that he and his fellow owners hope to open another gym in another city – preferably a Canadian one to give more aspiring fighters north of the border a place to grow.
“We’ve got a good crop of home-grown athletes that are doing their thing out here and they just don’t have the right outlet to get going,” Grant said.
And maybe Grant Brothers won’t stop at a third or even a fourth gym. As it will celebrate its second, it’s fifth and eventually its 10th anniversary, it’s poised to expand and become a top training team in MMA.
“I’m hoping we can open 20 of these, like McDonald’s.” Grant laughed. “We’ll see how it goes. So far, so good.”
About Grant Brothers MMA & Boxing GYM: Located in the heart of North York, Grant Brothers Boxing & BJJ Gym offers world-class BJJ, Boxing, Judo, Muay Thai, Sambo, Wrestling and MMA training at real-world prices. Classes are taught by certified coaches with classes for men, women, children, adults, beginners and advanced. Private lessons and boxercise classes are also available.
Areas serviced include North York, Etobicoke, Toronto, Scarborough, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Markham, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga.