LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Mixed Martial Arts is one of the toughest sports in the world. The fighters have a huge following. Travel to one Lee's Summit, Mo. gym and you will find not only a family affair, but a family of champions.
The world of mixed martial arts has taken the country by storm; it's both brutal and bloody. But for the team that trains out of Grindhouse Gym, it's a way of life that pushes them to the limits and causes an inseparable bond.
"We have amazing fighters in every major organization of MMA in the world," Grindhouse MMA instructor/fighter Gaston 'Tonga' Reyno said."But the main thing here is that we are a family. There is nobody better than the other guy. Every single person here is respected and everybody learns from everybody. We are one of the biggest teams in the world."
Family is important to all the fighters at Grindhouse, especially Tim Elliott who's won 10 of his last 11 fights, including three by knockout.
"I started in wrestling and wrestled all throughout college and high school. I was a four-time college All-American and a one-time national champion," Elliott said.
But for everything he's done in the cage and on the mat, Elliott has some pretty stiff competition, not just as the gym but at home as well.
"Tim I wear the pants in the relationship," wife Trisha Clark said.
Trisha Clark is gaining a reputation as one of the toughest flyweights in the area. She's seen her share of big fights.
The couple admits participating in the sport together has done wonders for their marriage.
"It's a bonding time, really for people that are married, or boyfriend and girlfriend, to get together and train," Clark said.
Elliott agrees and said training together every day is a positive inside and outside the gym.
"We fight at the same weight class, so in practice we get to train with each other. At home we fight quite a bit...not in a bad way, but we train together 24 hours a day," he said.
Just as in any sport, it does have its ups and downs. But the family's love for the sport and love for each other, keeps the marriage strong.
"It can be hard sometimes to switch on and off from husband and wife, to now I'm your coach. It all eventually works out. I'm very grateful and thankful for all the support I can give him, and that he gives me," Clark said.
Trisha says even though she's a fighter, she probably gets more nervous watching Elliot fight. The Wichita native will return to the cage April 26 to take on Joseph Benavidez in Baltimore.