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New MMA Gym in Tonawanda

Tonawanda’s new gym is one of a kind.

It only took Erik Herbert a few seconds to come up with the name of his new facility — Victory Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness. Now he’s just hoping it will bring in clients for years to come.

With mixed martial arts quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sports in America, this gym will be a place where you can learn and train to compete in the sport, along with other sports such as wrestling and boxing. The gym, located at 102 Broad St. in the City of Tonawanda, will feature a regulation size boxing ring.

Herbert, who was a former professional fighter and manager of Team Aggression out of Washington D.C., and his partner, Don Lilly, have more than 25 years of combined wrestling experience.

Both also coach a youth wrestling program in Tonawanda, where a relationship was formed and the idea of a gym was born.

“We both had aspirations to do this. Erik was a little bit ahead of me as far as getting started with the thing, and I was looking at buildings,” Lilly said.

Herbert leased the old Delbert Printing building and, along with Lilly and lots of volunteer hours from friends and family, transformed the former print shop into a full-service workout facility in a little more than a month.

Among those volunteers was friend Chris Lorich, who helped design the logos, banner and flyers that will be given out next week during Canal Fest.

Herbert said his gym will be able to do it all. “(Wrestling) matted areas and punching bags — you can go anywhere and find that,” Herbert said. “But the fact that we’ve incorporated a fitness center, an actual weight room, and yoga and palates, it’s kind of like a hybrid between a fighter’s gym and a normal gym.”

Victory will offer classes in boxing, wrestling, palates, yoga, jujitsu, weight training, Mui Tai and mixed martial arts.

The mixed martial arts classes will be taught to those who are 18 and over, and will be held two to three times a week. For those who just want to lift weights and use the weight training machines, the gym will be open while most classes are going on.

As youth wrestling coaches, Herbert and Lilly know the wrestling talent that’s coming up through Tonawanda. Victory can serve as a place where wrestlers can train year-round, they said.

But those who are in high school and want to train and take classes must be model citizens, and Victory reserves the right to take away their memberships if they get into any trouble outside the gym.

“We’ve done the kids program and we can see the talent. The thing is to keep them involved and keep them out of trouble, and I think this is a great opportunity we have here to do so,” Lilly said.

Victory will host an open house Tuesday through July 26 to give the community a chance to check out the gym, sign up for classes and meet with instructors. The gym is scheduled to open for business July 27.

Classes will cost $45 per month for about 10 to 12, 90-minute sessions. To use the gym for weight and aerobic training only, the cost is $200 a year. For unlimited classes and weight training, the cost is $850 a year.

By Erich Neuhaus
The Tonawanda News

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