College MMA Challenge: MMA 101, Congratulates UCONN Student Jeremy Pavlik on His First Place Finish, and Live the Legend Open Division First Place Finisher Dave Sugihhara
University of Connecticut student Jeremy Pavlik, Western Connecticut State University student Justin Harpe, and Central Connecticut State University student Josh Randorf each demonstrated excellent MMA Grappling skills and took first, second, and third, respectively, in the College MMA Challenge: MMA 101 - GRAPPLING, event. It was a sight to be seen. Students traveled from as far as two hours away converging on the beach in Rhodes Island to compete for the first ever College MMA Challenge.
Brad Wolfson, Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu Coach in New Haven CT has worked with many students over the years. "Our New Haven members have included students from Yale, Southern CT State, CT State, Quinnipiac, Albertus Magnus, Fairfield University and Gateway Community College, University of New Haven, and even as far away as Columbia University in New York City.
Students seem to love MMA and this event was a really great way for them to showcase just how hard they have worked " explained Mr. Wolfson. Paul Bratslavsky, competed in the event. He is a student at Manchester Community College and looking to transfer to Connecticut State University next semester. Bratslavsky, is also a childrens' karate teacher and brazilian jiu jitsu coach in Hartford and Boston in his spare time. "I loved the competition. It was very different from your usual Grappling, jiu jitsu, or MMA tournament and just right for the college crowd. I can't wait for the next event."
Jim Hughes Promotions LLC was the event promoter. Mr. Hughes reported "it was amazing to see college competitors all demonstrating such great talent. The incredible action packed matches were really riveting to watch. These students have a ton of heart and the right attitude whether winning or losing."
Promoter Hughes went on to add "there was really a strong sense of community among the competitors and it was great to see that they really connected off the mat as well. This event reminds me a lot of my Rugby Years back at the University of Arizona in the late 70's. The sense of community among my team mates and between the universities we competed with, really helped me get through college. Without that, I don't know where I would be right now. It is my hope to use the College MMA Challenge events to foster a real connection among students that can help them accomplish their goals in life."
Billy Khachadourian is a student at the University of Hartford. He was awarded 'The Most Heart Award.' "Billy was truly amazing as a competitor. He lost his first few matches, but he just kept coming back" said Josh Hesser a BJJ and MMA coach from Norwich CT and college student himself. "He really had a great attitude and he kept his wits in the face of adversity," reported Doug Gallant, referee and GJJ/BJJ and Kickboxing coach from Glastonbury, CT. "Billy is my favorite kind of competitor. He just won't get discouraged. We know that Billy hopes to possibly work in Law Enforcement one day. His attitude suggests he would be great in that field where every day is faced with adversity and unpredictability" said Jim Hughes.
Jeremy Pavlik achieved first place with an aggressive, yet smooth display of pure wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu technique, often smiling while competing. Second place winner Josh Randorf (CCSU student and Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Muay Thai practitioner and coach from Southington CT) commented half way through the day, "I've seen Jeremy in action before and I have never seen him tired." After the tournament was over, Jeremy and Justin Harpe (WCSU) both agreed to do an additional exhibition match. When Todd Matulis (CCSU student) was late due to his final exam, Jeremy and Justin both stepped up after a long hard day to give Todd a place in the competition. This is the spirit of Live the Legend MMA Challenge in action (the parent organization of College MMA Challenge). These students compete because they love the challenge of putting themselves to the test, and, they won't leave a fellow student behind. They gave Todd some good competition experience that will help him grow in his Muay Thai and Grappling game. "I am very gratified and proud after working with Jeremy at the UCONN Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA Club" says Dustin Rhodes, "Jeremy really demonstrated what it is that we have been working on at the club for more than 5 years now. I am also excited to see other colleges stepping up."
Jim Harpe, Agawam MA Royce Gracie BJJ, Karate, and Sabaki Method coach reported "it was a pleasure to see my son Justin compete. I am very proud of him."
Parents of all the students have much to be proud of. Their children are involved in a sport that has honor and integrity at its very core and in every case, the college students at this event displayed an amazing degree of excellent sportsman like conduct. And best of all, there were no serious injuries throughout the day.
Paul Doyle owner of Paddy's Beach in Rhode Island was the host of the event. A long time wrestler himself who still can be found helping the local high school wrestling teams commented "I am totally jazzed, this is like heaven for wrestlers where all the basics of high school wrestling can be relied on."
Concurrent with this event was the Live the Legend MMA Open which is for non-college competitors. Congratulations to First Place finisher Dave Sugihara; Second Place Brett Boskiewicz; and Third Place Eric Conley.
Perry Siegel, Director of Events and Fighter Safety, said "we are dedicated to giving college students a place to exhibit their skills. On a whole, the students put on a remarkable show and we are eager to hold our next event after the beginning of the new Year. Go to www.collegeMMAchallenge.com and www.gracie-jiu-jitsu.com for video and further details.