When I first started this blog, I violated the basic rule of journalism and interjected myself into every post. After all, it was just some random blog about MMA that I had started that was being read by, like, 10 people?
As this thing grew, I began to write in the first person less and less. The nature of posts changed as I felt it was necessary to increase the professionalism of the voice and tone of the site. But I’m going old school with this post and will be speaking from the gut. Some may label this post self-serving, but I’m the founder of the site, so I feel like I reserve the right.
First, I want to give everyone a heads up. Posting will be extremely light from me for the next 3-4 days. My wife, Andria, is going to be making her amateur MMA debut this Saturday in Virginia at the WKA’s annual national Combat Sports Championship tournament and family comes first. Last year she took home the WKA Muay Thai title and after taking up grappling this past fall, she decided to make the crossover to MMA. If it sounds like I’m bragging — it’s because I am. I’m not going to be ashamed of being proud of my own blood. My wife has been training full-time and working her ass off in order to go after a goal. The WKA tournament is a big deal and I know a lot of fighters check out this site. If you’re down there and see us, please feel free to say “hi.”
I also wanted to give a big public thank you to my wife’s trainer, Jared Weiner, the owner and head instructor of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu United in Jenkintown, PA. Jared has been putting in countless hours getting my wife ready. He not only has a family to worry about, but he has a school to run and his own competitive grappling career to train for. Despite all that, he put in extra time and has never asked for anything in return. Just to give you a heads up, Jared was the first-ever person promoted to black belt by Lloyd Irvin and he’s one of the top competitive grapplers in the world. If you don’t believe me, just ask Luke Thomas of BloodyElbow.com about Jared.
I also wanted to thank Sharon Bonewicz, Justin Labarge and Jay Pepito. Sharon is Jared’s fiancee’ and an instructor at BJJ United. She’s also a Lloyd Irvin black belt and not only has been helping Andria train, but she’s served as her nutritionist. She’s taken countless phone calls from us and responded to numerous text messages with inane questions that have come at all hours of the day and night. Sharon’s knowledge has been invaluable and her patience has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Justin is the striking coach at BJJ United and has designed a lot of classes with Andria specifically in mind. My wife is a striker by nature and he has made sure she’s stayed sharp with it as she works on her ground game.
Jay has also been a huge asset. Andria and I met him when we trained at Philly MMA. He’s an awesome Muay Thai instructor. Anyway, he recently got off the road with his band Reign Supreme, one of the best new hardcore bands to come out in quite some time. Jay has been serving as Andria’s strength and conditioning coach and helping make sure she has the cardio needed to get through a single-day tournament. If you’re into hardcore music, you need to check out Reign Supreme.
I also have to give a special thank you to Casey Boahrman at Daddis Training Camps/Cool Hearts Muay Thai. Casey has a Muay Thai fight this Friday in New York at the Roseland Ballroom against Natalie Fuz. Casey is one of the best female American Thai fighters you’ll find. She doesn’t get a chance to fight all that often because there are very few females willing to take a fight with her. My wife is pissed that she’s not going to be able to go up to Manhattan and support her. However, if you’re in the NY area, I recommend you go check her fight out. Casey has been training with my wife in the mornings in South Philly and has been holding pads for her and making sure her striking is on point. If Casey ever decides to start competing in MMA, a lot of female fighters are going to be in trouble.
Finally, I also want to thank all of Andria’s training partners at BJJ United! I’d name you all but they are too numerous to list. I can’t say enough good things about the school. If you are in the PA or New Jersey area and are looking for a new school or if you’ve never trained and are looking to start, I cannot recommend the school enough. Before you enroll anywhere, you have to take a few free classes at BJJ United before you make any decisions. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later. And in case you didn’t already know, Wilson Reis, who just improved his pro MMA record to 4-0 during the undercard for EliteXC’s debut on CBS, trains out of BJJ United and is also an instructor. BJJ United was an underground school in Northeast Philly for a couple of years but blew up and they had to move to Suburban Philadelphia last summer. Jared and Wilson have put the school on the map but in the next few years you’re going to be hearing from a lot of up and coming fighters and grapplers that are repping the school.
The other major thing I wanted to discuss is the fact that 5 Oz. of Pain has experienced a tremendous amount of growth recently. Thanks in large part to the stellar UFC 84 lineup and the first-ever MMA show on primetime network TV, we’ve doubled our daily average without putting a cent into marketing.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that in May we shattered our records for number of page views in a single day as well as our record for number of page views in a month. June is off to a tremendous start and unless something catastrophic happens, we’ll shatter our monthly mark again.
I just wanted to thank our readers for all the support they’ve given us. We have so many supporters and I wanted to sincerely thank you. I even want to thank the haters, as well. Some of the people who complain the most about this site just happened to be the ones who visit us the most frequently. Love us or hate us, I am appreciative so long as you read us.
It’s also important to note that 5 Oz. is not a one man band. My co-owners in this site, Adam Morgan and Matt Cava, have been nothing short of amazing. Believe me when I say this, I founded 5 Oz. with absolutely no ambition behind it. I’d love to sit here and lie and tell you that this has all gone according to plan. But when I created 5 Oz., it was simply an outlet for me because I had a lot of free time when I cut back on training. As a sportswriter, I got burned out writing about the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. I just wanted the chance to write about a sport I had been passionate about for a long time.
The site grew so fast that there were demands I could not meet. While I put full-time hours into 5 Oz., I still have my regular full-time writing career (the career that pays my bills) and a family to think about. Without Adam and Matt, I might have given up the site a long time ago. As a senior writer, Adam’s presence is very visible. Matt’s presence? Not so much. That’s because most of his contributions are not editorial in nature. Matt makes sure this thing keeps moving. He handles most — if not all — of the marketing. He handles the sponsorships and makes sure we can cover our costs each month. He also handles all of the back end technology pertaining to the site and works hand-in-hand with our design guru, Derek Bess. Matt is basically the Oz of this site. I don’t thank these guys enough and wanted to take the time to do so.
I also would be remiss not to thank our staff writers: Michael Huckaby (who has been an amazing addition!); Ram Maramba, Sam Cupitt, and Paul Balsom. Adam and I have jobs outside of 5 Oz., so we’ve got other fish to fry at times and without Mike, Ram, Sam, and Paul, you would see long periods of time without posts. It’s important to note that we are a small operation that is now just breaking even. Mike, Ram, Sam, and Paul all work on a volunteer basis. They are truly unsung heroes as they write for 5 Oz. simply out of love for MMA.
So yeah, our traffic has skyrocketed (as just about every MMA-related site out there has) and this thing keeps growing. It’s become a monster and it’s become bigger than I ever imagined. Each day I find myself pressured into stop running this like a side project and run it like a real company. We’re not there yet, but thanks to our sponsors, we’re getting close. Without supporters like Frank Trigg and Triggonomics, EFK Nutrition, and our longest running sponsor to date, Ranger Up, we’d be nowhere. So please, if you appreciate what we do here and want to support the site, you can help us by supporting our sponsors.
I won’t lie to anyone, we’re experiencing growing pains. But we’re doing our best to adjust on the fly. Just last week Matt upgraded our servers and quadrupled our server capacity. We’re also exploring possible new design concepts. And we’re doing a lot of behind-the-scenes business development. 5 Oz. isn’t going anywhere and is only going to get bigger. We’re working on some really, really big things!