Less than two years after opening Eatonville’s first mixed martial arts training center, “Choctaw” Brad Pole has assembled a competition team that’s making a name for itself in the Northwest.
In their first full year of mixed martial arts (MMA) cagefighting under the tutelage of Pole, a former professional fighter and Eatonville native, the team has amassed a 10-6 record in events around Washington, produced a top prospect in professional Freddie Baumann, and is getting ready for a fight card this Saturday at Bethel High School that will bring amateurs from throughout the state.
Eatonville MMA has also had success in building its kids’ and teens’ programs. On May 18, five young competitors traveled to Bremerton for the first North American Grappling Association (NAGA) Washington Tournament. NAGA is the largest grappling circuit in the country and travels nationally and internationally, drawing hundreds or thousands of competitors every weekend, Pole said.
NAGA Washington drew over 600 grapplers from around the Northwest. The largest gyms in the region were represented. Only having four kids’ competitors and one teen, Pole knew it would be difficult to compete with the much larger schools. But Eatonville MMA walked away with five first-place finishes in No-Gi competition, and one first place, two seconds and a third in Gi. That was enough to earn the team a 15th-place finish overall, beating out 30 other gyms, most of whom brought many more competitors.
“While there is always room to improve and get better, I’m happy with how our team performed and placed. They are always progressing,” said Pole, who coaches them in a mixture of various martial arts, wrestling and self-defense techniques learned over the past 20 years of training.
Continuing to ride the wave of such success and education on the arts Eatonville MMA offers, the training center is now organizing the first MMA event “in our area,” Pole said. The all-amateur show, which he said will feature some of the best amateur fighters from around the state, will take place June 29 at Bethel High School with more than 15 fights, including three title bouts.
Fighting in the co-main event for the 155-pound title will be Luke Mcneley, an Eatonville High School wrestler, who will be facing Brett Malone from Arlington. Also competing will be Eatonville MMA competition team members Lucas Lane, Cooper Wright, Michael Weglin Jr., Mathew Anderson, Oscar Trinidad, Cole Stover, Wyatt Gustason, Gus Matthews and Brayden McLean. The show will also feature other fighters from Graham, Spanaway, Puyallup and Roy, plus more from around the state.
Tickets and information is available at www.eatonvillemma.com.
Eatonville MMA offers classes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, and MMA designed for young kids (starting at 5 years old), teens and adults.