Cage Stars & The Rise of MMA

If you told me that mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting was the fastest growing sport around, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree with you.  There is no denying the impression MMA has left on the public not just in the States, but around the world.  The competitors come from around the globe to match not only their strength, but their wits against their fellow fighters.  With personalities such as the Shamrock brothers, Chuck Liddell, and current powerhouse Anderson Silva, the landscape features an array of fighters from all weight classes, each with their unique arsenal of fighting styles.

Why do audiences go crazy over the sport?  At first glance, the attraction is obvious.  The old adages of “smash mouth” and “in your face” have never held a more accurate resonance as they do today.  The fighting is very real and can even be a bit graphic for the squeamish.  With new catch phrases popping up, such as “ground-n-pound,” “hammerfist,” and “tap out,” newcomers to the genre will quickly see just how accurate these words are.  Still, it’s not just the gladiator-like duels that draw people.  If that were the only attribute to MMA, audiences would have fallen by the wayside long ago.

The physicality of the fight is quite apparent, but what bystanders may not see, is the strategy that is imbedded within each fighter.  To go into the octagon ring blindly swinging at a nearby opponent is not only a bar room brawl tactic, it’s suicide.  MMA fighters are far from a handful of thugs jumping in the ring for a little glory.  These are passionate individuals who are quite studious, monitoring their opponents’ styles like coaches watching tape on next week’s quarterback.

In all fairness, however, the fighters don’t do all the work.  There is always a key core of individuals behind the scenes that bring the fights to you and organize these high-adrenaline bouts.  Recently, I had the opportunity to head to the Chu To Bu West gym in Avon, Ohio where a group of MMA fighters are busy honing their skills for a June 26th matchup.  Carefully coaching and sculpting these determined fighters was the very professional team of CageStars and Gentile Promotions.  Lorenzo Gentile, a major representative in both organizations, spoke candidly on his talented coworkers as well as their upcoming gem of an event.

Gentile and teammates Louis Kayatin Jr., Paul Jordan, Michelle Kring, and Steve Semicek have formed an alliance, along with Lorenzo’s dad and Ohio Boxing Hall of Famer Joe Gentile, all of whom pour their hearts and souls into their promotional and training efforts.  Just how hard have they worked?  Not only is the promoting platoon making a strong play to become Ohio’s numero uno MMA promoter, but they’ve managed to turn some heads along the way.  Roctagon Entertainment, a major player in the national promotional scene, took notice of these blood-sweat-n-tears efforts, and teamed up with Lorenzo Gentile as MMA fighting continues to steamroll the athletic competition.  This is the same Roctagon that has also allied itself with former MMA champ, Frank Shamrock.  This says a lot for Gentile and company, as Roctagon only partners itself with those on top of their game.

CageStars and Gentile Promotions not only take their business seriously, they go straight to the top when it comes to organizing an event.  On June 26th, in association with Voo Doo Custom Sportsbikes, the groups will hold a multi-bout event outdoors at the Quaker Steak & Lube in Sheffield, Ohio.  Not only that, but Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will be making an appearance at the event.  Silva will be flying up from his home in Brazil specifically for the June 26th fight series.  As the advertisement says, it’s “bikes, bands, brawls & brews” and who can go wrong with that?  Gentile pointed out in regard to the CageStars/Quaker Steak pairing, “They’re (Quaker Steak) fantastic at doing wings and beer.  We’re fantastic at putting on fights.”

So why Silva?  What the big deal was about him?  Okay, I get it, he’s a champion.  Why?  Why is he so good?  Why is he feared?  Why is he admired?  How does he continue to pound the opposition into oblivion?  When the Cage Stars team discussed the topic, they made it quite clear how Silva got to the top of the mountain.  “He’s got such a unique style,” Gentile said.  “You can’t put him in a compromising position.  No matter what you do, he gets out.  If you try and strike him, he moves.  He is, pound for pound, the best in the world.  I always compared him, because I grew up boxing, to like, Muhammad Ali.  He’s doing something for the sport that no one else has been able to do…He’s known all over the world.”  Trainer Paul Jordan added, “I think the power of him, when he broke Forrest Griffin’s jaw in a fight…he broke his jaw going backwards.  So with a guy that can do that, he has an enormous amount of power.”  As Michelle Kring was quick to point out, “He never loses his cool.”

I don’t know about you folks, but that just answered all my questions on Silva’s ability.  I’m sure the fighters prepping for June 26th are glad they won’t have to face off against Curritaba, Brazil native.  Although you won’t get to see the champ in action that day, you can still see him in person at the event (ticket information below).  If you have any inkling of getting your feet wet in the spectating world of MMA, here is the perfect starting point.

It’s safe to say that CageStars has its hands full with a busy schedule ahead, but those are very capable hands to be in.  As the group prepares for June 26th, they will be setting their sights on future endeavors within the sport as well.  Gentile said they hope to have 11 more events before 2010 closes out with a goal of 37 events slated for 2011.  One thing is for sure, the talented team at CageStars just doesn’t stop.  They’ve combined their iron-clad work ethics with the explosiveness of mixed martial arts and the result has become a rocket where the sky is the limit.

If you are interested in additional information on Cage Stars or tickets to the June 26, 2010 event, check out http://www.cagestars.com.

Other related sites you should check out are:


Photography (excluding Silva) courtesy of Scott T. Morrison / Discovery Photo

In the coming weeks up to the June 26th event, WhySoBlu will be featuring interviews with some of the very talented fighters from CageStars and Chu To Bu West, as they get ready to face their next round of opponents in a mixed martial arts frenzy!  Stay tuned!


3 Responses to “Cage Stars & The Rise of MMA”

  1. Scott T. Morrison

    Kick Ass!!! I can not wait till the 26 to see the guys in action. Great job Gregg on getting the story. I am looking to the the other interviews.

    I love the diversity of the content on http://www.whysoblu.com. You guys are the total KO entertainment package.

  2. Brian White

    This is a good read Gregg! I have nothing but respect for these guys! I need to pass this on to Mr. Johnson.

  3. Gregg

    These guys really work their tails off; both the fighters and the promoters. It was a great experience getting the brief glimpse behind the scenes. Thanks for the kudos, guys.