The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) is one of the premier training facilities in all of mixed martial arts.
It's home to several former UFC title challengers, an ex-heavyweight champion and a wealth of the elite in multiple weight classes throughout our beloved sport.
With all those big alpha male personalities, however, comes conflict.
Tonight was the third episode of Fight Factory on Nuvo TV, a new TV series which follows all the behind-the-scenes goings-on of AKA. The show debuted last week with a combo episode to kickstart the new season and was met with favorable reviews.
Did tonight keep up the momentum?
I'll keep the answer short and sweet: Hell yes.
There were three primary stories being told on tonight's episode. The first followed Wayne Phillips, a 5-4 fighter in the gym who is trying to get out of the doldrums of MMA and work his way into a major organization. Viewers were witness to his personal life which included his relationship with his daughter, his sidejob of teaching kids at the gym and finding out just how important a victory in his next fight meant to him.
The second story was Phil Baroni, who had taken a fight to pay the bills. The cameras followed him all the way back home to Long Island where you got to meet his entire family which included his biggest fan, his mother, who implored him to quit fighting and later told him she wouldn't be attending his fight for the first time in his career.
Lastly, UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch was given the spotlight as he ventured out of AKA to train with his good friend Josh Koscheck, who's had a much publicized split with the gym and Javier Mendez. Viewers were given an opportunity to meet his wife, his newborn baby and see just how much of a toll the feud between Koscheck and Mendez has taken on the team and the relationships between the fighters.
It was during this episode that "Kos" uttered his now infamous "I hope AKA burns to the ground" line.
Of course, not everything in this world is sunshine and rainbows and the welterweight Phillips was overwhelmed by his opponent, losing a unanimous decision and dropping his record down to 5-5. His team looked like they had some difficult decisions ahead as he simply wasn't progressing at the rate they were hoping he would.
Again, I applaud the creators of this show for not sugarcoating anything. For every winner in this sport, someone loses and in all honesty, that actually makes for better television because the emotions are so much different and relatable.
Did you catch last night's episode?
If so, what did you think?