Nestled in the heart of New York City, Catalyst S.P.O.R.T. is a skip between Times Square and Grand Central. The fitness center offers a variety of services, from group training to semi-private personal sessions. All walks of life find themselves enter through their doors, but most curiously, a group of female Muay Thai fighters rave about their experiences the most. Six athletes from Renzo Gracie Muay Thai, located only ten blocks away in Midtown Manhattan, convene weekly with the multiple trainers Catalyst has to offer. Each woman focuses on something different than the other--they may be active fighters while the others are in-between seasons, might be overcoming an injury or recovering from a previous fight, or have not yet fought and are simply there to increase their stamina and mobility. There’s something the small facility offers that big-box gyms do not and they can not get from their martial arts academy--the emphasis of bringing strength, agility, and movement together to enhance their skills and make them the ultimate version of themselves. It is with this additions to their game that these female fighters have seen vast improvements in their training and fight performances.
Jay Ross’s online persona is primarily defined by his humor, his artwork, and of course, his clothing brand Bangarang. The clothing is a mix of fight life, street style, and pop culture, defining the way fighters, combat sport enthusiasts, and martial artists alike dress. It’s wild, eclectic, clever--from metal pins with a woman dripping in sweat proclaiming MUAY THAI MAKES ME WET to a rashguard compiled completely of JiuJitsu memes to a crop top of a big open mouth with juicy lips and a mouthguard that says SAVAGE to his newest drop--a t-shirt with hands in prayer position, wrapped and ready to fight, with both middle fingers up. The front says PRAY FOR MY ENEMIES.
In just a few days, one of the biggest rematches in the history of New York City Muay Thai will go down. Brett “The Threat” Hlavacek, representing Anderson’s Martial Arts, is taking on Elijah “The Mayor” Clarke, of Renzo Gracie Muay Thai, at Lion Fight 40, held this Saturday February 3rd, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. The two are considered among The Big Apple’s most exciting fighters, and they are battling for the inaugural Lion Fight North American Light Heavyweight Title. It’s an exciting prospect for both men, as they had originally fought on New York’s local and well-established Friday Night Fights promotions, and are meeting once again on Lion Fight.
Heather “The Heat” Hardy is a woman who hardly needs any introduction. With a professional boxing record of 18-0, her last fight was the first women’s televised bout on NBCSN. One of the most well-known athletes in NYC, Hardy is based out of the famous Gleason’s Gym in Dumbo, Brooklyn. A plethora of articles have been written about her, either demonstrating her dedication to the art of boxing, highlighting her heart and determination as an incredibly busy single parent, or illustrating her work regarding women’s rights. A 2014 documentary directed by Natasha Verma titled “Hardy” detailed The Heat’s life and struggles, encapsulating the concept that being a fighter is hard, but Hardy is damn good at it. If there’s one woman in New York who can do anything, it’s Heather. And “anything” includes Mixed Martial Arts.
“My goal isn’t to win my next fight. My goal is to be the best in the world. The fights are the steps that I need to take to accomplish that.”