A full-sized cage ring in the corner, a mat in the center and moveable punching bags hanging from the ceiling set the scene. The smell of sweat and pheromones waft through the tepid air. Loud music pumping and men grabbling with one another, sweat dripping off their bodies onto the sterile floor. The Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training center, Down to Bang, is the newest fitness center in Blackfoot, boasting a 5,000 square foot area, the largest available MMA training site in Eastern Idaho. DTB opened April 6 to competitors and fitness enthusiasts for an affordable $40 a month, DTB provides a full coaching staff with experience in boxing, wrestling, karate, jiujitsu and kickboxing. Benny Lucio, owner and strength and conditioning coach, said "if you can't get in shape here, you can't get in shape anywhere."
With MMA fighting increasing in popularity Lucio envisioned a training center in Blackfoot. His focus is not only on training the MMA athletes but also on bringing health, nutrition and fitness to all of Blackfoot, including children and women.
"We don't just offer fighting here. We also have a children's program and a 90-day training program for both men and women." said Lucio.
Blake Davis, jiu-jitsu trainer at DTB emphasized that they "also coach self-defense" and it is not just men who are interested in learning MMA skills. They also offer strength conditioning and cardio workouts.
Lucio started the children's program in an effort to promote the "60 minutes of play" program created by the NFL.
Lucio said that in promoting healthy activities for the children, "it's important to understand that I will be spending one-on-one time with these kids. They look up to me and the fighters here. It helps boost their self-confidence."
"Nutrition is also a key concept taught with the children's program", he added.
MMA training has significant benefits including strength, endurance, balance, confidence and self-respect. DTB focuses on all of these to provide the best quality training possible. The various styles used in MMA target all major muscles and enhance core strength. As the core muscles become stronger and more powerful, your balance gets better.
"DTB doesn't have heavy weights" Lucio said, "Twenty-eight pounds is the heaviest weight we have. Athletes should be able to use their own weight to work out and become healthier."
Lucio's attitude is portrayed in his business, "when you sign up, you sign as a part of a family." Each member is treated with respect. Rules and safety are key and coaches are always on hand to provide a safe environment for those fighting and training. Unlike boxing, MMA fighting incorporates a variety of techniques.
DTB is proud to be featuring Gabe Pelayo, professional MMA fighter , on its team. Pelayo has been fighting for five years in the amateur rings and recently turned pro. Currently his record is 1-1. He will be fighting in the cage April 27. Other fighters from DTB are 22-year-old Fabian Castaneda, who has been training for a few years and is actively learning judo, jiu-jitsu and kick boxing. He said he looks forward to his first fight in the cage. JD Cates, 24, has been fighting for two years and said, "this is my favorite hobby right now." Trey Sykes, 22, who modestly said he has been in only two fights in the last four years, while failing to mention that in 2009 he took down his opponent with an arm triangle in 1:14 of Round 2. Sykes said he loves fighting because "it's a challenge and keeps you in shape."
DTB is currently home to five men training for a May 27 fight at the El Centario Events Center at 51 S. Spruce St. Tickets are $17 for general seating, $22 for floor seats and $300 for a VIP table for six. Tickets can be purchased at DTB, Tommy Vaughn's or Les Schwab. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the fight starting at 8 p.m.