MMA + College Students = A Good Time!

By James O’Hagan

From its original marketing as a blood sport competition with no rules to becoming one of the fastest growing and very competitive combat sports in the world, mixed martial arts or MMA is a few short steps from becoming as main stream as baseball, basketball, and football. MMA is a mixture of styles, including but not limited to Boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai Kickboxing. MMA has been adopted as a sport style that is now practiced in most martial arts school around the world.  With this progression, the age of the average mixed martial arts student has become younger and younger and has garnered the attention of many college students. Some non-believers may not see this as a positive aspect, but it seems to be adding discipline and self-confidence to participants who may otherwise not have an opportunity to experience.

Two students of MMA and professional MMA competitors, Cumberland County residents Patrick White and Bryan Danner are strong believers in youth in MMA programs. White & Danner train at Shark Tank BJJ in Vineland, NJ, had some insight on college students training in MMA.  White, a graduate of Rowan University, became a pro fighter while in college after realizing that college wrestling wasn’t what he wanted to pursue, “I just always had that competitive side,” White explained.  After a career in high school wrestling and looking for something more during White’s college tenure, he felt that MMA was his niche. White reflects, “I loved working out, but just lifting weights and running wasn’t doing it for me anymore.”  When asked, if a MMA club or team was started at Rowan, how would he feel about that? “I would absolutely join, I would have been the first in line.” White stated.

CCC’s Bryan Danner, on break from school until the winter session, is also a pro fighter and also agrees with the idea that not only college students, but also, anyone, that wants to get into shape should participate in mixed martial arts training. “Definitely health wise, it’s definitely a benefit,” Danner explains. Also, he sheds light on the benefit to sometimes, wild college students. Danner, who fights this October 22in Atlantic City, along with his trainer partner White, believes that MMA will help focus students involved in MMA.  Danner states, “it will keep their mind busy, they will be focused and they will strive to be the best they can be.”

The benefit of MMA, whether you become a fighter, grappling competitor, or just want to become healthy is obvious. “There are guys out there that are 80 years old, rolling around on the mats still”, says Danner who also is a Marine reservist. White explains, “We got guys in here, that come in here, that are overweight, train for six months and drop 50 pounds.” Many students are engaging in mixed martial arts training to enhance their health and build confidence.  For more information about mixed martial arts programs, visit


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