Story - Coach Maddox is assistant coach at Jeff High, Coach Stith is a volunteer coach and former 2x State qualifier for Jeff High, Kirk Moore wrestled for New Albany High Schoolhttp://newsandtribune.com/localsports/x1348434795/Southern-Indiana-fight-team-trains-Southern-Indiana-hopefuls
February 24, 2011
Southern Indiana fight team trains Southern Indiana hopefuls
By MATT KOESTERS Matt.Koesters@newsandtribune.com
The Jeffersonville News and Tribune Thu Feb 24, 2011, 12:07 AM EST
JEFFERSONVILLE — Josh Stith has a motor that doesn’t quit.
He starts out tossing bombs at the mitted gloves of sparring partner Kevin Crowder, who calls out combination numbers as Stith throws punches. After a full minute of throwing haymakers, trainer Brent Maddox calls for Stith to switch it up.
Stith immediately turns, trades a quick five with Kirk Moore, and now it’s Stith’s job to keep Moore from trying to wrestle him to the ground. Moore gets a hold of Stith’s leg a few times, but doesn’t manage to take him down before Maddox calls for another change.
Now it’s Maddox’s turn at the 170-pound Stith. Holding a big padded shield, Maddox slaps hands with Stith, who then throws a flying knee into the heart of it and takes it to the floor. As Stith sprawls on top of the shield attempting to throw punches into the padding, Maddox’s 300-pound frame is on top of the smaller man, trying to control Stith’s wrists. Stith adjusts, squirms out of Maddox’s grasp and rains blows into the side of the bag.
A chime rings. Stith is back to his feet, and he’s ready to go again.
For 10 solid minutes, Stith runs through each drill with his teammates. And he never stops.
“We’ve only had seven or eight people who can get through that,” Maddox said after Stith completes the “Razor Rob” drill. “The rest of them all throw up.”
This is Full Force Fighting, a Jeffersonville-based mixed-martial arts, or MMA, team that trains fighters to compete in the fastest-growing sport in the country.
Stith and Maddox, both 30, are professional fighters and MMA trainers at Full Moon Martial Arts along Middle Road in Jeffersonville, a martial-arts dojo that boasts 15 trainers with expertise in seven different disciplines. For Stith and Maddox, the fight game is their release, their hobby and their passion.
“Some people golf. Some people play basketball. Some people fish,” Stith said. “This is what I do. This is my hobby.”
Thanks to promotions like the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, the sport of MMA has become boxing’s chief rival for pay-per-view buys and revenue. Fighters like Stith and Maddox have been in the fight game for years, but newcomers are a foregone conclusion, predicted Chuck Dismang, owner of Full Moon Martial Arts.
“Boxing has lost its allure for everybody,” Dismang said. “Kickboxing is neither here nor there anymore. MMA is just taking over. In my opinion, it hasn’t even hit this area yet.”
Dismang thinks that’s about to change. With the UFC holding a live event at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville on March 3, Dismang expects an influx of new fighters, each hoping to become the next Ultimate Fighter.
Some young hopefuls have already found their way to the Full Force team. Moore, a 20-year-old New Albany native, started training with Full Force about seven months ago. A high-school wrestler, Moore was looking for a way to continue competing past high school.
“I wrestled for like 10 or 11 years,” Moore said. “After I graduated, I missed being competitive. I wanted to get back in competition.”
Moore has done so. Already 1-0 as an amateur fighter, Moore is preparing for his second fight this Saturday in Owensboro, Ky., at the National Armory, where he’ll face off against Justin Becker. At 6-foot and just 145 pounds, Moore’s long and tall for a fighter his weight.
Making the transition from wrestling to MMA hasn’t been 100 percent smooth. MMA incorporates wrestling with other disciplines like boxing, Muay Thai (the Thai art of dirty boxing, using elbows and knees), jiu-jitsu (dominant positions and submissions) and kickboxing into one sport.
“Jiu-jitsu, it came pretty easily, pretty naturally,” Moore said. “Striking, I had to work a whole lot harder. It took me like a month or two to get used to it, but eventually I just worked really hard and got good at it.”
Currently a student and a UPS employee, Moore hopes to eventually fight for a living. Maddox and Stith guide him, getting him prepared.
“We all train together,” Maddox said. “So if a guy’s getting ready for a fight, we’ll focus on that guy, but if nobody has anything scheduled, we all train together.
“If I would (have a) fight, we would all research my fighter, and whoever I was fighting we’d gameplan (against), and then I would work on a strategy to beat that guy.”
A Thorntown, Ind., native, Maddox’s road to Full Force was a long one with several stops. After being stationed in California in the Marines, Maddox enrolled at a junior college outside of Temecula, Calif. He met world-champion fighter Dan Henderson at a local event and started training with Henderson’s Team Quest for more than a year. Maddox eventually moved to New York to play football for Iona College, and then after his playing days were over, he moved to Jeffersonville to play football for the Louisville Fire indoor football team. The Fire franchise isn’t around anymore, but Maddox still is, spending 12-15 hours per week training and preparing fighters for bouts.
“Brent and Josh, especially, are great motivators, and Brent is probably the best corner man I’ve ever seen,” Dismang said. “They know how to get the guys motivated. Their record for the team speaks for itself.”
Dismang estimates that Full Force fighters are 25-4 since the team formed in 2008, and has hoisted three amateur belts, including a championship earned by Stith. Stith was forced to relinquish the amateur title when he turned pro.
“For a small little Southern Indiana school, we’ve done real well,” Dismang said.
For a small school, the places is packed with experience. Full Moon has instructors versed in aikido, jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai in house. But Maddox and Stith are the leads on MMA.
“I think it’s getting more popular now, but a lot of people just don’t understand it,” Stith said. “They see it like it’s dogfighting or something like that, but it’s really not, because we have a choice.
“Out of the six or seven fights I’ve had, I’m friends with every one of those guys, and I didn’t know them before we fought. A lot of those guys are some of my good friends now.”