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James Fehr, a fighter with Fight Club 29, takes on one of his early opponents during the Gracie Nationals Submission Grappling Tournament. Fehr was the only Fight Club 29 member to take first place in his weight class, but two others earned medals for their winnings.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl

Fight Club takes on bigger competition

24 Jan 2009 | Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl

Multiple fighters from the Combat Center’s Fight Club 29 participated in the Gracie Nationals Submission Grappling Tournament held at the Los Angeles Convention Center Sunday, standing toe-to-toe with some stalwart adversaries, but taking home several awards.

The competition hosted martial arts schools from eight states west of the Mississippi River and a team from Rosarito, Mexico, said Mark M. Geletko, the head coach of Fight Club 29.

“We had stiff competition, but we did well,” said Geletko, a Pittsburgh native. “We had three out of five fighters take medals in their divisions. The showing we had at the competition was excellent; it shows how far along our club has come. Our three fighters that medaled were considered beginners still. Beginner fighters are those with less than one year of experience in the sport.”

Geletko added that he believes the club competed well in such a large competition, especially for it being their first time in a competition of that magnitude.

The fighter who earned a gold medal for his performance in the 135-pound weight class was James Fehr, who is also one of the newest fighters in the club.

“I really just wanted to thank the other guys in the club for helping me so much in practice,” said Fehr, a San Manuel, Ariz., native. “It was a pretty good competition. It’s one of the bigger ones that we go to, and I think the club takes a lot out of this. We had a few guys medal pretty high, along with me, so I think we all did good.”

Other fight club smack down artists earned silver medals in their weight classes. Dominic Waters and Nate Wolf both earned the silver in the 175 and 220-pound weight classes.

Wolf, a Jefferson, Wis., native, in the 220 weight class, said that he enjoyed the tournament, but felt that he should have performed better. The fighters had to fight many fights to make it to the apex of their divisions and compete for the title.

“I did okay but I was somewhat disappointed with my final fight, coming up second place and all,” said Wolf. “It’s a tough loss after coming that far. Working up to moments like that one is difficult. It almost seems like all the other fights almost don’t add up.”

Wolf said his plan for the fight did not go his way, but he is going to continue to refine his style and conditioning.

“When you’re in a fight like that you try to work in your game plan, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” he said. “There were a lot of good fighters and they gave us good competition. Hopefully we’ll have more matches like that.”

With the club making an appearance at their biggest tournament yet, they are scheduled to head to the Grappler’s Extreme tournament Feb. 21 in San Diego.

“Next month we’re going to be in another big venue,” said Geletko. “We’re all looking forward to it because matches in San Diego always attract large numbers and good fighters.”

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