When Dawson County High School grad and current University of North Georgia student Gavin Brown was trying to fill his spare time, he logically chose mixed martial arts fighting.
On Aug. 4, he had his first official amateur fight in NFC (National Fighting Championship) at Center Stage in Atlanta where he defeated Chauncey Perry by unanimous decision in three rounds.
“I was just looking for something to do in my free time,” Brown said. “Since I wrestled in high school, I was kind of like this seems kind of interesting.”
The 21-year-old 2015 Dawson grad was a state champion wrestler under the coaching of Arron Haynes.
“Gavin was very successful in high school when wrestling,” Haynes said. “He was a two time state finalist, a three time state placer and a state champion in his junior year.
“Much like with MMA, Gavin was a very physical wrestler, never known for amazing technique, but that the technique he used he knew very well and then he went out and just mauled his opponents.”
In his first official outing, Brown said that although he was unable to knock out his opponent, he had more takedowns and Perry only landed two punches against him.
“The beginning of the second round, I picked him up over my head and slammed him on the mat, so that was pretty cool,” Brown said.
For the particular type of fight, Brown wore smaller gloves, shin guards and no head gear.
“It’s just a pretty cool experience because I had a bunch of people come out, some of my old coaches,” he said.
Though he wasn’t sure what to expect going in, Brown said the win gives him confidence to move forward in the sport.
“It’s a good sign,” Brown said. “I probably wouldn’t want to do it again if I lost my first one.”
To prepare for his first fight, Brown spent five to six days a week training for two and a half to three hours a day at Ascension MMA Fitness in Alpharetta.
Brown said he looked hard to find a good gym.
“There are some really good instructors there who are former UFC fighters,” Brown said.
Freddy Assuncao is a lead instructor and co-owner who was the Titan FC Lightweight Champion. He has been working with Brown.
Brown began with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
“I started doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which is like grappling without punches or kicks or anything like that,” Brown said. “It’s just like submissions and chokeholds and stuff. I looked to do that because I have wrestled since middle school and was looking for something to do to stay in shape and everything. I found that and then kind of ended up in MMA.”
To prepare for his fight, he chose a training partner with experience in kickboxing so that the two could trade insights from their areas of expertise.
The business administration major said that he isn’t always sizing people up to see if he could win in a fight because you can’t always tell just by looking at someone what kind of fighter they are.
“Someone who’s been doing it for 10 years and has a black belt and is 135 pounds, they will choke me out even though I am like twice their size,” he said.
Brown hopes to pursue the sport as far as it will take him despite the fact his parents, Rick and Angie, aren’t that excited about it.
“My dad likes it because he used to come to all my wrestling tournaments and he used to be a coach...he wishes I wouldn’t do it because you can get hurt really bad,” Brown said.
“She (Brown’s mom) was telling me she wished I’d pick up something less violent, like golf,” said Brown laughing.
For now, he will continue his run with NFC promoters in Atlanta in an attempt to further his amateur career before moving up to the professional level.
“I am going to keep training like I was doing and try and get another fight on Sept. 22 with NFC, another amateur fight. After I get a couple more of those fights, I will be able to move up to the professional and I will still probably fight for NFC one or two and get some sponsorships or something,” Brown said.