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Travel

GTA Tripping: UFC Fighter Diego Sanchez Owes Me a Flex Down

Posted by Christopher Reynolds / September 19, 2009

Paramount Fight Club"In the black trunks and weighing in at 155 pounds, Diego Sanchez: World-famous UFC mixed martial arts fighter with a record of twenty-one wins, two losses. Specializing in gaidojutsu, he is known to train in thunderstorms so as to absorb their energy!

"In the dandy vest and weighing in at 155 (differently distributed) pounds, Christopher Reynolds: Guy!"

It's on, people.

Paramount Fight ClubOr so thought I as we sped towards Vaughan last week for the official launch of Paramount Fight Club, the GTA's newest MMA-themed gym. Mr. Sanchez was slated to make a guest appearance, and when I found out that he and I weighed exactly the same amount, I knew I had to challenge him to a soul-shattering flex down.

At the gym situated directly across the street from the Vaughan Mills Shopping Center, there was a macho, sweaty buzz in the air. It was a swarm of tough guys, aspiring tough-guy children with their pensive mothers in tow, lower-echelon media types, "promotion models", oyster shuckers and champagne wielders, celebrity MMA trainers and the few stressed-out business partners involved in the endevour.

Paramount Fight ClubSammy and Marco, PFC's non-silent partners, were conducting interviews on- and off-camera, answering questions about the new gym. Marco (Vice, local fighter), now covered in sweat from punching and kicking trainer-supported pads in the demonstrations, was answering questions about the new business, and about the sport of MMA. The man stood at about six feet, a billion inches and had the presence of a John Deere industrial combine harvester. He said things like, "You want to stay on the balls of your feet. Why? 'Cause you're just that much more explosive." He asked the "Why?" without leaving a beat.

Paramount Fight ClubSammy, on the other hand, bounced from interview to prospective customer to his various trainers and employees, perpetually Blackberrying and stressed to the MAX! To the various media types, he repeated his business's shiny new marketing pitch, "Whatever your fight is, bring it to Paramount Fight Club. Whether your fight is losing weight, boosting your energy, or getting your kids to do better in school, we can help."

Personally, I like the idea of kids doing better in school because they get to knock each other's blocks off in their off-hours. It was this very philosophy, combined with Sammy's obvious entrepreneurial chutzpah that impressed me and most everyone else there.

But we hadn't come to see some new gym. The crowd had come for Diego "The Nightmare" Sanchez! One of my friends had come to try to convince the champion to marry her and I had come to challenge him to this flex down.

But then the inevitable (inevitable to the more cynical members of our party) happened. I heard one mother pull the busy man aside to ask about Diego's appearance. All Sammy could say was "Family emergency." The kid's face fell and the two walked out.

Paramount Fight ClubIt was at this point that my travel partners, at least as disappointed as that young boy that their hero wasn't going to show up today, decided to turn our mission into an anthropological study beginning with Sammy himself. They noted and discussed the notion that he seemed to be a member of a newer species of first-world man. The group is characterized by a vanity expressed through an excess of tribal tattoos, diamond earrings, meticulous facial hair, tanning bed-kissed muscles, $300 jeans and all-over print tops - Douchebaggius Maximus was the Latin, my friends informed me, but I think they were just mad.

Not I, though. While I agreed with the fact that Sammy and his ilk seem to represent a "style", I wasn't going for the character judgment and besides, Diego's no-show wasn't a surprise; obviously someone had tipped him off to my flex down challenge. What a wimp. DIEGO, I'M COMING FOR YOU!

(Diego, buddy, if you're reading this, I'm totally kidding. Heh.)

As for the gym itself, other than using the locally-famous trainers Franco-Behring (Behring having trained possibly the funniest UFC fighter, Anderson Silva) the proprietors couldn't tell me exactly how or why this gym is any better than the other MMA-themed gyms in the GTA (Revolution MMA, Toronto BJJ, Xtreme Couture, etc.), but did say that they are "in the business of training champions." Which is fine, but considering that MMA, even in amateur form, is still totally illegal in Ontario, it's difficult to see quite how that could be.

Paramount Fight ClubAnd this brings us back to Sammy and Marco's chutzpah. Despite the pressure put on our government from the UFC, the Ontario and Canadian Mixed Marshal Arts Associations and legions of tough guys everywhere, the future of MMA in Ontario is still very much up in the air, making Paramount Fight Club risky business. The only thing anyone knows for certain is that Diego Sanchez is a little girl who is scared of a writer.

(Still totally kidding buddy, you're all right!)

Photos by Petia Karrin

Discussion

14 Comments

Jordan / September 19, 2009 at 10:58 am
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"in the business of training champions." Which is fine, but considering that MMA, even in amateur form, is still totally illegal in Ontario, it's difficult to see quite how that could be.

It's illegal to fight here, but not illegal to train here. We don't have many MMA representatives from Canada in the UFC, but it doesn't mean a serious competitior from Toronto couldn't become a champion from training at Paramount Fight Club. UFC president Dana White adamantly states he's going to Vancouver next year; Toronto will probably be next.

The chance is diminutive in itself with guys like B.J. Penn, Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, and Brock Lesnar holding belts around their waists.

UFC president Dana White adamantly states he's going to Vancouver next year and after two successful and economically beneficial events in Montreal, is Toronto next?
Christopher replying to a comment from Jordan / September 19, 2009 at 11:30 am
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I meant that it seems like it'd be difficult to become a champion without a lot of competitive experience, but as you mentioned, fighters can travel to Montreal.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/07/13/bc-vancouver-ufc-match-ban-martial-arts.html

Interesting point about Dana White simply asserting that he's bringing the UFC to Vancouver despite the ban - and now the Mayor's behind it. White's been trying to do the same thing in Toronto for a long time, but so far it hasn't happened. Maybe that's all it takes then, just boldly saying "We're doing it." and hoping the government will be on side. I'm surprised that's floating in Vancouver.



Jordan / September 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm
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*Montreal had their qualms
Jordan / September 19, 2009 at 12:12 pm
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http://mmablips.dailyradar.com/video/youtube-mma-connected-dana-white-1-on-1-part-1-video/

Dana seems pretty serious about it. The ban is ridiculous because MMA is no worse than boxing or football which is legal here. I understand if it was 10 years ago when the UFC was raw with no rules and weight classes but that is not the case.

The economic impact MMA brings is large and they are doing better than most baseball teams in terms of attendance. It's incredulous for Vancouver to deny this. White may have to alter the rules a bit as he did in Montreal - http://www.sportsnet.ca/mma/2009/02/18/ufc_saved_montreal/ - however it's a small price to pay and a big gain for Vancouver especially with the Olympics next year; They could use all the money they can get.
Elaine Y. / September 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm
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It's a shame that MMA is illegal in Toronto. I totally agree with Jordan that MMA is no worse than boxing or football. Seems like a lot of states on the east coast are not as receptive of the UFC than the west coast... pleaseeee bring UFC to Toronto!!!
cocoa / September 19, 2009 at 02:24 pm
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What is with that vest? I know the belt-buckle guy is the most offensive character in the photos, but the vest needs to be addressed.

As for UFC/MMA...the ban is silly, and White seems to think Toronto would be the biggest UFC event yet, but the whole thing (fighting, grappling) is unseemly. We should uphold the ban because we are right-thinking and proper Torontonians.
Christopher replying to a comment from cocoa / September 19, 2009 at 02:32 pm
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(Shhhh, shhh, it's OK Vesty, she doesn't mean it. She doesn't know you like I do...)
Jordan / September 19, 2009 at 02:44 pm
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WHAT!? "right-thinking and proper torontoians". HA! Asinine.
saltspring / September 19, 2009 at 06:16 pm
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You lead an interesting life, Christopher. But instead of taking Diego on, you should have challenged the two blondes to a menage a trois...and worn only the vest.
Cheap cars / October 9, 2009 at 03:17 am
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Fighting..!! What actually I consider it as a game of demon... these heavy giants with a macho figure fights to break anothers head... and people finds it quite interesting..!! huh..
Ru Serious?? / November 27, 2009 at 06:47 pm
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Yeah, really want to fork up over a thousand dollars to train there.... i'll always worry when i show up the doors are locked.... Yeah the instructors seem to be really cool guys... you know something is really fishy when they talk about "non silent partners" and silent partners... UH do these morons have a high school diploma?

Douchebaggery is the perfect term for those pictures, just a bunch of woodbridge ginos trying to be tough guys. What a joke!!

I'll be steering clear from this place.
Joey replying to a comment from Ru Serious?? / November 27, 2009 at 09:25 pm
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Okay, let's be honest: you have no interest in MMA, you don't know anything about wrestling, fighting or martial arts and you're only using the word 'douchebaggery' is because you read Torontoist and saw one of the "cool kids" use it.

Based on your comment I realize that you're angry, but what you're angry at is a complete mystery. Maybe when you graduate from high school you'll be able to write a decent critique, but until then: save it for the big boys and girls, okay? Thanks.
RuSerious / November 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm
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Please...i have an interest in people who run these MMA schools to go broke!! The instructors seem to be the good guys and the owners care about the fact it's "cool" to own a MMA fight club.

This was posted on a mma forum today about someones experience with the owners -

Wow! I can't believe there are people out there that would totally screw innocent, hard working people such as yourselves...
I was almost duped in such a fashion. I was walking down the street, and this little guy dressed in green said he was a real live Leprechaun? I couldn't believe it, he offered me a pot of gold.......
Your story is heartfelt, but I think you're missing a few parts of that story...
I have a few questions for the owners of this fine establishment...
1. Was it the Investor who decided to keep all the members in the dark until a week before you decided to close down?
2. Was it the Investor who, through this whole ordeal decide not to let the members know what was going on, and when you were planning to open?
3. Was it the Investor who decided to pull a midnight dash from the place you were currently in? Leaving the landlord without the rent money?
4. Was it the investor's idea to smash all the mirrors in the old place?
5. Was it the investor's idea to leave weight machines locked in the old place, that didn't even belong to the owner, which was borrowed?

Listen, anyone wanting to go to this place to train has been warned. The trainers are a group of great guys, I'm just sorry they are associated with a bunch of thieves!
Oh but don't take my word for it, here is a link that pretty much sums it up http://www.blogto.com/travel/2009/09/gta_tripping_ufc_fighter_diego_sanchez_owes_me_a_flex_down/




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