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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Knocking on the Door #MMA #UFC

How Joey “The Grizzly” Leccese is using persistence and work ethic to forge his place in the world of MMA. 

With a wrestling background, Rob Cannova has been in love with mixed martial arts (MMA) from day one. But it wasn’t until his sons showed an interest in the sport that he opened Imperial Athletics, a warehouse gym that has quickly become synonymous with professional MMA talent.

“It’s an incredible honor to have the pros working out in my gym,” Rob says, “but I actually built the place for the kids.”

If You Build It… 

For years, Rob and his wife, Mindy, have run Boca Raton Youth Athletic Association, a non-profit athletic association that provides baseball, basketball, wrestling, and football programs for youngsters. When his two sons became interested in MMA, he decided to turn a storage warehouse into an MMA training facility for them. With all the equipment needed for a full workout under one roof, Rob intended for kids to come for MMA training, while their parents worked out at the same time.

As soon as word spread about his facility, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva showed up with his training partners. They started a camp and stuck around. Fellow pro Jorge Santiago did the same, as did a number of others—including Rashad Evans. With so many professional fighters on the training roster, it was only a matter of time until hungry up-and-comers made their way to the gym.

One of the most promising is Joey “The Grizzly” Leccese.

“When you look at the guy, you want to stay away from him,” says Rob. “But he’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met. My wife loves him, my kids love him, the coaches love him. No one has anything bad to say about him.”

NFL for the Ladies!

Drive to Succeed 

Of the many reasons no one can find anything bad to say about The Grizzly, his work ethic is on the top. When he first joined Imperial Athletics, Joey purchased a normal gym membership, like an average Joey. But he is anything but average, and he didn’t plan on being seen as average for long.

From day one, The Grizzly struck up a relationship with Rob, asking to join the pros in their workouts. Rob told him to give it time and they would let him in. Soon, Joey’s daily dedication to working out and improving his skills won over the pros. A short time after joining the gym, The Grizzly earned the right to the pro’s inner circle and began working out with some of the top names in MMA. 

How Important is a Home Inspection?

Today, Joey drives an hour to the gym two times each day to work out with the best of the best, attend nutrition classes, and soak up all the MMA knowledge he can. Rob suspects this obsession is a key reason The Grizzly has made such monumental improvements in such a short time. Add on a strong core and unparalleled balance that come courtesy of a previous life in professional hockey, and it becomes clear why Rob expects The Grizzly to become a 205-pound knock-out machine.

“I have a lot of strong guys, but he has a different strength—the Grizzly strength,” Rob says. “And he has persistence unlike anyone I’ve ever met. You won’t find a tougher guy, both mentally and physically, than The Grizzly.”

With his Grizzly strength, hockey balance, and unparalleled persistence, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the MMA world gets to see The Grizzly unleashed.

Get on The Grizzly bandwagon by liking his Facebook page or following him on Twitter. If you’re a business owner, The Grizzly is on the prowl for a few more sponsors. Contact him about a potential sponsorship at (864) 320-7277. 

I saw the sign!

Interested in using the same equipment as the pros? Find out how to join Imperial Athletics by visiting them in the Wiley Commerce Park at 4500 Oak Circle, Building B, Suite 1 Boca Raton, Florida 33431. And to learn more about Boca Raton Youth Athletic Association, call 
(561) 672-1308.

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