Photos by Gabriel Chavez, Contributor
U.S. Army Veteran looking to make a splash in MMA debut at Austin’s Belts of Honorius event
In just a few weeks’ time on June 29th, the latest entrant to the Austin, TX fight scene debuts with the non-profit powered Belts of Honorius taking place at the Elite Center in Downtown Austin.
We’ll be there covering the event so it’s only fitting that we profile some of the athletes set to compete on the show.
First up on our profile list is Eddie Wittern of American Fight Company. He’ll be taking on former heavyweight Gabriel “El Patron” Trejo in light-heavyweight matchup on the BOH card.
A veteran of the United States Army, Eddie has a background in judo and wrestling dating back to his early childhood but didn’t really get into combat sports as a full-time passion until after serving two tours of duty in Iraq. It was then that he got introduced to Modern Army Combatives and met now-BJJ black belt Jarrod Clontz at the Ft. Hood Combatives Academy.
“He (Clontz) introduced me to No-Gi Jujitsu and I just fell in love,” says the soldier. “I have been training 4-6 Days a week 3-5 hours a day ever since.”
Medically retiring from the armed forces at the end of 2012 allowed Wittern to dedicate more of his time to for martial arts and fitness – not just with competitive grappling (and now MMA) but with other endeavors as well, including strongman type competitions such as Highland Games (Scottish athletics). According to him he’s just trying to expand his horizons as much as possible in sports and beyond. He’s even playing a small theatrical role in an upcoming musical production of Legally Blonde.
“I just figure life is too short to put yourself in to too much of a box,” he says. “I want to be a complete person overall and the same goes for how I compete. What I love about the sport now is how much more complete of an athlete you need to be to compete. I enjoy the self-motivation it takes to train every day and eat right to keep myself in peak physical shape. It’s a test I welcome on an ongoing basis.”
Naturally with all the training he was doing with Clontz and with plenty of other training partners at American Fight Company (including UFC fighters Tim Kennedy and Colton Smith) already competing in MMA, it was only natural that Eddie progressed to wanting to test the waters in that arena as well.
“Last year I was working with Jason Norwood and told him that if I placed in the top 10 in my division at the IBJJF No-Gi World Championships I was probably ready enough to start MMA. I took 2nd in my division Adult Blue belt 202-215 and 3rd in the Adult absolute. As soon as I got home I started working more towards fighting. I have a ton of great training partners and they’re the ones who have put in the majority of the sweat in there with me.”
“I’m focusing on my conditioning and strength training mainly so I can try to be overpowering in the clench (against Trejo). I’m hoping to finish this fight in the first two rounds. I plan to take it to the ground and work a powerful technical game. Predictions wise, I’d say watch out because this will be a good fight. We’re both hungry and starting out looking to make a name for ourselves so I’d expect it to be one of the best fights of the night.”