On May 19th, FIT NHB (Fighters In Training, No Holds Barred) celebrates their twentieth year of existence as an entity within the combat sport’s world. Not just a unique acronym, the lauded gym has been quintessential to the development and evolution of mixed martial arts in the State of New Mexico and the Southwest region.
When FIT NHB announced via social media that they’d be celebrating their 20th year, it piqued the interest of us here at Southwest Fight News to become fans for a while and take a drive down memory lane to commemorate FIT NHB as experienced by the individual who stood at ground zero building the gym from the first brick – Head Coach and Co-Owner Tom Vaughn.
We hoped you followed us last week and if you haven’t we have listed the links at the end of the page for all the previous entries of this celebration series.
In a previous entry in the series, Tom spoke about two very important locations – the first and second locations of FIT NHB. In time, a similar situation would play out to the first time they relocated – the building was sold to a hardware store. The first time Home Depot, and now the second largest corporate hardware store in the Country.
“In 2004, our time at the 12th school location came to an end when the owner sold the building to Lowes Home Improvement. I don’t know what it is with us and hardware stores but this was the second time this happened. When changing locations there is always a little anxiety because you never know if you’ll get something as good as what you had but Arlene is an expert at finding great buildings. Once again Arlene found an empty building on Lomas Blvd downtown. It wasn’t on the freeway like our last spot, the layout was completely different, but it was 11,000 sq ft of raw potential. It is always easier for me to go along with Arlene’s vision than the other way around and she was really sold on this spot. She met with the owner who turned out to be a great guy, and we signed the lease.” – Tom Vaughn
The current FIT NHB location is iconic in that when you pass by, it feels like a combat gym. It is a huge warehouse that has big red letters depicting “No Holds Barred Fighting” and the energy radiates fighting. The gym not only houses fighters but also hosts smoker events and though it is the third home for FIT NHB, it feels like it is truly their home.
The gym is enormous in size offering plenty of space for classes and training. It is even large when an event is held in the gym with plenty of spectator space to watch competition in the ring. The gym has been producing top talent from within those walls for several years and it starts from beginning level striking matches to professional level MMA at the pinnacle of the sport.
“Arlene did most of the design, a ton of work to make it ready, and we were open for business at our 3rd (and current) location. FIT NHB on Lomas has been a work in progress for 14 years now and has evolved into a unique facility with real character. We kept that raw warehouse feel and the elements are part of the experience. Fighting is all about becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable and our students become inherently tougher through adversity. With safety in mind we keep it as real as possible. No pain, no gain.” – Tom Vaughn
Tom’s words describing the experience of training inside the walls of FIT NHB is telling and also indicative of each fighter who has spent extensive time training with Tom and Arlene. FIT NHB fighters are tough as they come, and they all have that “rawness” in a similar way that Tom describes the gym.
“We could not have gotten this facility to where it is without help from some very important people. Instrumental in the development of the Lomas Gym are Dave Nater, Rick Nater, Carlos Griego, Jose Hernandez, Joe Lerma, Ben Mitchell, Sergio Gutierrez, Chad Padilla, Juan Souter, Albert Torrez, Kevin Collins, Scott Karsten, Isaac Chavez, Bobby Oakley and Robert Garcia. Thank you all, we will never forget.” – Tom Vaughn