Gameness / Nashville MMA had a very unique beginning: five friends. Five black belts under Lloyd Irvin—Ed Clay, Ray Casias, Shawn Hammonds, Spencer Scrivner, and Sean Pulizzano—began training together ten years ago. In 2001, Ed came to his friends with a proposal: he was going to open a gym, with the help of his parents, Regina and Ed, Sr., and a Brazilian black belt. Today, Nashville MMA is the largest MMA facility in the Southwest, occupying a huge warehouse space of over 20,000 square feet total with 7,000 square feet of mat space. More than twenty heavybags dot the stand-up floor, and two rings and a cage are available for fight team training. In addition, students have access to a full weight and strength training area.
Gameness not only has many high ranking BJJ students and instructors, it also has excellent, qualified instructors for its other programs: MMA, Muay Thai, Cardio Kickboxing, and a kids’ program. Muay Thai is led by Lance Patrick, the only civilian to hold a Level Three Combatives certification, and George Ortiz. The kids look up to Floyd Eason, a brown belt under Shawn, who has been teaching since 2001. Rachel Casias and Carolyn Hammonds run the Cardio Kickboxing.
Nashville MMA can boast of many excellent fighters, many of whom appear on the Gameness Fight Series shows in Nashville and on GFC – Silverado’s events in Goodlettsville. Of note is Dave Herman, a 14-1 professional heavyweight MMA fighter. Dustin Ortiz, a bantamweight who holds the WKA Tennessee State Title, is Nashville MMA’s shining star in the amateur realm.
These fighters undergo a strenuous training regimen. They train twice every day, doing padwork in the mornings two or three times a week and BJJ two or three times a week, Jiu-Jitsu sparring in the afternoons. In the evenings, BJJ class is a must, followed by either technique and ring strategy or MMA and Thai sparring. In addition, fighters have a weight training routine and are under the supervision of staff dieticians.
Finally, students at Gameness receive cross-training with the best of the best. “We’ve got UFC and King of the Cage vets coming in and out all the time,” says trainer Ray Casias. Nashville MMA’s website, nashvilleMMA.com, can be proud of testimonials from the likes of Brandon “The Truth” Vera (UFC) and Jeff “The Snowman” Monson (UFC, Pride, Abu Dhabi).