20th Anniversary UFC Referee Big Dan Miragliotta’ s BAMA Shootfighting Brian Cimins vs. Rick McCoy with “GET IT” by Kaleb Mitchell

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August 1997 – Elizabeth, New Jersey – More than 400 people packed into the Bayside Academy of Martial Arts in Elizabeth, New Jersey on a hot summer day. This was my first amateur shootfighting match and I was nervous.  Our coach and instructor of Rising Sun asked for “tough matches” and the promoter obliged.  My training partner “Big” John Makowski was unconscious in the center of the ring for nearly ten minutes without moving and I was up next.  Everyone watched the stretcher come in and take him away, thank God he was fine, but everyone was worried he broke his neck.  Minutes later, Big Dan kicked off the extra ice from the center where John was just lying and said, “Are you ready?” and I finally faced one of my greatest fears in life, to fight someone.  Beyond the physical benefits, the psychological benefit of facing that fear proved to be pivotal in life, when things got challenging, physically, spiritually and financially in life.  We all face tribulation in life, Jesus promised it, how will YOU handle it when it’s ‘your turn’?

BACK TO THE MATCH…What do you do when a Sambo Master heelhooks you? What do you do when you fall down in life? Do you give up? Well, in grappling or Jiu Jitsu, sometimes YES…but in life, NEVER GIVE UP…You Get Back up!!

Watch Brian Cimins (Black Shorts) vs. Rick McCoy (USA shorts) in 1997, when Ultimate Fighting Championship referee, Big Dan started hosting Shootfighting events in his gym in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This was their 2nd event in August 1997, but their first event was May 1997 and featured Matt Serra’s MMA debut.

In 1998, Brian Cimins founded Grapplers Quest and helped create America’s First Submission Grappling Tournament Circuit.

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