Jorge Gurgel is one of the friendliest and most accessible fighters in MMA today, so a brief email exchange between PRO MMA ( and Jorge resulted in an invitation to visit and train at his facility, JG MMA Academy based in West Chester Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati.

Gurgel was at that time, leaving for a trip to Somerville, MA to train at Sidyodtong for his recent Strikeforce fight against Conor Heun, but hooked us up with fighter and gym manager Matt Dunlap.

Dunlap’s journey to managing JG MMA is an interesting one. While serving on his final tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army, Dunlap met Rich Franklin, Randy Couture, and Rachelle Leah who were in country for a USO tour. Particularly inspired by Rich Franklin, Dunlap decided that upon leaving the military, that MMA was in his future.

Dunlap received the full support of his wife when he approached her about what he wanted to do. Next up was a move to Cincinatti, where he showed up at JG MMA and became a student. Now 4-0 in MMA as an amateur, Dunlap is looking to make his mark in the game, by going pro after his 5th fight.

In April of this year, Gurgel approached Dunlap about managing the facility as an active member of Team JG.

JG MMA is home to former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin (25-4 MMA, 12-3 UFC), UFC up and coming welterweight Dustin Hazelett (12-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Luke Zachrich (9-1), Mike Patt (12-4), and Dorian Price (8-3) in addition to Jorge Gurgel (13-5) himself, and offers world class instruction in all facets of MMA, from children to adults alike.

The gym is sustaining it’s momentum as a world class training facility and recently celebrated Gurgel’s win over Heun in Strikeforce, and Franklin’s victory over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99.

Rising superstar and UFC welterweight Dustin Hazelett is still rehabbing after his knee surgery, and is likely out of action until early 2010. No word on a potential opponent upon his return is known at this time.

PRO MMA ( had the opportunity to participate in a no-gi submission grappling class led by head instructor and Gurgel black belt Jon Stutzman. There’s nothing quite like traveling to another state to get your ass handed to you on the mats!!

While at the gym, PRO MMA ( had the privilege to meet Team JG fighter Chris “The Christian Warrior” Wells. PRO MMA ( took some time talking to the fighter that is a high school teacher by day, and fighter by night. Look out for “The Christian Warrior” as he will be headlining at MMA Bigshow: Unstoppable on July 25th.

Some gym members train at JG MMA for fitness, others for competition, and Team JG stays actively involved in competitions from grappling, kick boxing, to MMA fights.

Team JG member and UFC veteran Mike Patt will be in action this weekend but this time on the promotional side of the cage with Xtreme Fighting Series, being held at the Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun Indiana. If you are in the area, get out and support your local MMA and check out Team JG fighters in the process.

For more information on the JG MMA Academy check out their website for contact details and pay them a visit if you happen to be in the Cincinnati area.

By Denny Hodge

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