Local Entrepreneur Hosts Grand Opening Of New MMA Studio

By Jennifer Silverstein

From the man who brought you throwback sandwiches, comes real throwdowns at the newly opened South West Florida’s Elite MMA. Junior Santana, owner of Franks & Subs in both Riverview and FishHawk, said he decided to open a mixed martial arts (MMA) fitness center because his two children, ages 13 and 15, fight in MMA competitions.The studio will be located next to Buffalo Wild Wings at 13410 Boyette Rd. in Riverview. It will be open Monday–Saturday, from 12 Noon–9 p.m. and Sunday, from 12 Noon–4 p.m. and will offer an afterschool program with pick up.  The instructor his children train with, Jerre Norton, will be the trainer at this school as well. Norton’s qualifications include training under Kerry King, an instructor under Professor Rickson Gracie from 1994-1997.  From 1997-2009, he trained under Professor Eduardo De Lima, who trained under Master Carlos Gracie Jr. from Gracie Barra and was honored his black belt in 2009 by De lima.In 2000, he came in first place in the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) GI super heavyweight division. In 2001, Norton came in third place in Pan American GI tournament super heavyweight division. In 2003, he placed second in the super heavyweight division of the Florida state championship. He won first place in the GI super heavyweight at Robson Moura jui jitsu tournament in 2009 and came in second place in the super heavyweight GI division at the 2010 Florida state championship.  Forms of mixed martial arts to be taught at South West Florida’s Elite MMA include boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, grappling and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, with classes for adults and children as well as men’s and women’s boot camp and self defense classes. Classes will start at 5 p.m. for children, with adult classes running from 6-8:30 p.m.“You can try it for one week, free,” said Santana. Full-contact sparring at the MMA center will occur with the use of head gear to prevent injuries, Santana assured.For more information, e-mail junior@southwestfloridaselite.com.

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