Heavyweight Fighter Trains In Payson

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Martial arts fighter Chad "Gravedigger" Griggs wraps up three days of training today, Friday, in Payson.

Griggs has been training at instructor Wyatt Shepherd's new Panktration Martial Arts studio for a Feb. 2 showdown against John Marsh.

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Martial arts fighter Chad "Gravedigger" Griggs has been training at instructor Wyatt Shepherd's new Panktration Martial Arts studio in Payson for a Feb. 2 showdown against John Marsh.

"The fight will be on Fox Sports News," Shepherd said. "Chad is a heavyweight fighter with a 6-0 record in mixed martial arts competition and a member of the Scorpions fight team coached by Don "The Predator" Frye.

Frye, a native of Sierra Vista, is a former Arizona State University wrestler who combines both boxing and wrestling in his martial arts approach.

He is also a two-time United Fighting Championships heavyweight champion.

Shepherd said Griggs was in Payson because, "The IFL has authorized Frye to use the Rim Country as its last training spot for 2007 fights.

"They come to the Rim Country for the high elevation training, clean air and seclusion of the mountains and to train in our new World Class training facility."

The new gym, located at 1305 N. Red Baron Road No. 6, includes an octagon cage for mixed martial arts training, four types of training bags, free weights, medicine balls, a dressing room and mats for jiu-jitsu and grappling.

In addition to hosting Griggs, Shepherd said, he will bring other big-name fighters to the Rim Country, including two-time world champion Gustavo Dantas.

Dantas, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, now lives in Tempe where he is a member of the Nova Uniao martial arts team and is a coach of jiu-jitsu and other martial arts at Arizona Combat Sports.

In his career, the 32-year-old Dantas racked up a jiu-jitsu record that includes winning the 1997 and 1998 world championships.

He also was an international champion in 1998 and 1999, finished third in the 1996 and 2002 world championships and won the Rio de Janeiro state championship in 1988.

In judo, he has been a Nevada state champion and is a two-time Rio de Janeiro titleholder.

For more information about the Payson-based mixed martial arts school, call Shepherd at (928) 978-0631.

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