UFC Fighter and MSU All-American Wrestler Offers a New Option for Fitness
What does a UFC fighter do when it’s time to settle down as a family man? If you were to ask Gray Maynard, he might say “Move to Grand Ledge and open a gym.”
Some might recognize the name as that of the three-time NCAA All-American wrestler from Michigan State, others may know it from “The Ultimate Fighter 5”, or from his time in the octagon fighting in the UFC.
Maynard’s upbringing was split between Tennessee, Nevada, and Ohio. His father, a two-time state wrestling champ in Ohio, introduced Gray to wrestling at the age of 3. After his sophomore year, Maynard packed his car and headed to St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. Having identified wrestling as being his passion, he hoped that the wrestling program at St. Ed’s (one of the best in the nation) would help propel him into Big 10 wrestling.
Which it did.
Maynard’s hard work and dedication earned him his spot on the Spartan wrestling team. When he wasn’t training or competing, he worked on a degree in Parks and Recreation. Following an impressive collegiate wrestling career, Maynard moved to Arizona where he was training to make the US Olympic wrestling team. When that didn’t pan out, he worked in real estate in Las Vegas, but spending time in the gym training was a constant urge for him. It was there that he began training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
After being called up to assist B.J. Penn (former UFC champion) with his wrestling skills, it didn’t take long for Maynard to find his way into Mixed Martial Arts fighting. His big break coming in the form of competing on the reality TV series “The Ultimate Fighter.” His UFC career lasted more than a decade before he separated from the organization in 2019.
“It was great,” Maynard said. It’s easy to look at someone with their arm held aloft in victory and think about how amazing that life must be. Showing me a picture hung prominently on the wall of just that, Maynard then pointed to the other photos, photos of him putting in the hard work needed to win. “Most of the time, it’s all black and white and you’re in the gym training by yourself, or with the team. That’s what I want kids to understand. This is where you’re going to be most of the time. But it’s all worth it.”
Wanting to get away from the busy big city, Maynard and his wife Jessica wanted to find more space to raise their kids and be closer to nature. Grand Ledge fit the bill. When the opportunity to open a gym was presented to them, they took the leap. Between Gray’s experience in fitness and competition, and Jessica’s education and experience in nutrition and functional medicine (she has a master’s degree), they have a lot to offer. Jessica summed up their holistic approach to fitness saying “It’s not just eating better, it’s not just working out, it’s the all-encompassing holistic outlook of mindset… All the things that feed your soul--because not [just] one is going to do it.”
Despite his career as a mixed martial artist, Primed Combat is about more than just fighting arts. Their goal is to help improve the general wellness of the community and to share their wealth of knowledge. Gray states “Our lives have been dedicated to health in some way for the past 20 years… It’s time to pass all that information along.”
Classes start next week with Kickboxing Tuesday and Thursday 7pm-8pm, Wednesday 6pm-7pm. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes will be Tuesday and Thursday 6pm-7pm, Wednesday 7pm-8pm.
Look for them to be starting a wrestling club for middle school athletes soon, as well as
They will be offering wrestling camps in the summer. As they forge their way, they want to provide the classes that people want, and to meet the health needs of people in the greater Lansing area. Primed Combat is sure to be a fantastic alternative to the mega-chain gym experience! Be sure to check out their in-house smoothie bar, Blend Lansing, to try one of their superfood bowls or beverages. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you at the gym!