By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Competition in its most basic form, exists simply, well,  because!  The desire to compete  does not require victory, or even decisions. As humans, it can’t be denied that in our nature is a fundamental desire too compete. Woven into the fabric of our being is the need to test our own skills against that of another.

Mixed martial arts offers a very pure form of competition that can satisfy that urge on a very raw, and basic level. Although it is cliche to compare fighting too warfare, as Josh Barnett once said, mixed martial arts is a ‘watered down’ version of combat. And although some people fight for the glory of having there hands raised, others find solace in competition alone.

Like fighters, soldiers are a different breed. They possess a different mind set, and the experience of warfare has offered some of them life lessons most of us cannot even imagine. The daily discipline, and regiment based life is not for everyone, and in many ways the daily goal based regimen resembles the training of a fighter in many ways.

At Fight Club 29 in 29 Palms California, head trainer Mark Geletko formed a fight team made up entirely of military members, mostly Marines and their immediate family members. Geletko, a  former  kick boxer with a strong boxing background first started the team as a way to stay in shape. “I started Fight Club 29 in 2005, when I first got returned from Iraq” Geletko said. Since then, the gym has seen a constant rotation of young men and woman, who are all at different stages of their military careers.

The reasons vary for those who choose to train at Fight Club  29 vary. “A lot of us, just need to stay busy!” Geletko said. “As military personnel, we all tend to be ‘Alpha’ personalities, but we are also very much team oriented.” Others train simply because they love to compete. “Fighting is a high level of competition, and a lot of these guys are just looking for the next challenge!” Galetko said.

Three fighters from the team are actually competing on January 4th at The Agua Caliente Casino, under the “Up and Comers” or “UPC” banner. Promoter Jason Weiner has been a constant friend to the Fight Club 29 Team, and is giving three of Galetko’s fighters an opportunity too shine on a grand scale. “Our guys love fighting for Jason, especially at Agua Caliente, they have huge dressing rooms, and always treat the fighters really well.”

Fighting on January 4th, are: Kyle Stewart 170 lbs  (4-1) who has completed 3 tours of duty, Justin Robinson Heavyweight (3-2) who is a fireman at 29 Palms and is also the current BATCH Fights Heavyweight Boxing Champion, and Omar Romero 185 lbs (3-0) who served in Iraq, and is a Purple Heart recipient. Ryan Donnelly (3-0) is not on the card, but is an Afghan vet who will be fighting for Cali Cage Wars.

“Currently we have about 12 guys, 8 are fighting in MMA.” Geletko said. “We even have one woman fighting for us, Kathryn Proudfoot (1-0) as a boxer.” Unfortunately, the military’s ever changing schedule only has each fighter averaging about 2 years of training, before they move on, or get out of the military. Its a transit fight club, but one that serves a very important purpose.

Unfortunately, recent military cuts have left the Fight Club 29 to rely on private donations. Currently companies like Oscar Mike, Dethrone Royalty, Bad Boy, and Ecko have helped out with clothing, but our soldiers deserve a lot more. For those interested in helping Fight Club 29 with either Gear, Equipment, or Financial support please contact MGeletko@yahoo.com.

UPC 18 will be taking place on January 4th. The card will feature 2 World Title fights, and Top MMA Prospects Chris Honeycutt, Steve Swanson, Everett Cummings, and Jaime Sierra will all be in action at The Agua Caliente Casino here is the link for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/552369111513557/

UPC-18-MMA-Poster

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