ACS: MMA's Next Superpower

by Tommy Messano | source:

ACS: MMA's Next Superpower

The rise to power of Arizona Combat Sports as one of the top mixed martial arts gyms in the country was slow and steady. This was no overnight emergence.

ACS was started by two twin brothers who had no plans to run a martial arts school as their full-time profession. Todd and Trevor Lally just wanted a place to train after they relocated from Washington’s rain-drenched climate to Arizona’s barren desert.

Like many teenagers, the Lally brothers sought outlets through which to release their testosterone-fueled aggression. After team sports like rugby left them unfulfilled, they turned to martial arts. In 1991, after checking out several schools advertising “the fast track to becoming a certified black belt or your money back,” the brothers took a trip to the American Martial Arts Center, a local gym in Kirkland, Wash. Unbeknownst to the Lally brothers, they had stepped into what would later become AMC Kickboxing & Pankration, one of the sport’s top academies, now run by Matt Hume. Josh Barnett, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and Rich Franklin have all called it home at one time or another.

“I was 17 years old, and I walked in the door and I saw Maurice Smith sparring someone, U.S. muay Thai champion Curtis Schuster [and] boxer Kim Messer,” Trevor said. “Legendary muay Thai instructor Huru Shuminishi came up to us and said to me and my brother, ‘You guys have the body of a Porsche, but you don’t know how to drive it. I will show you how to drive that car.’ As an angry 17-year-old kid, that’s what I wanted to hear.”

The Birth of ACS

Mainly testing themselves in kickboxing and Pankration tournaments prior to their involvement in MMA, the Lally brothers received their big break when they were asked to live and train at the Super Tiger gym in Japan while they competed inside the Shooto organization.

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tags: Arizona Combat Sports   


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Recent Comments »

CRBMoney14 site profile image  

10/9/09 2:23 PM by CRBMoney14

No it wouldnt, if a fighter is 20-4 in his career but was 0-2 with a certain camp the camp shouldnt get credit for his previous 20 wins

THP site profile image  

10/9/09 3:36 AM by THP

Since that wouldn't be the same thing.

CRBMoney14 site profile image  

10/8/09 11:49 PM by CRBMoney14

last i checked that part of sherdog isnt all that updated.and im pretty sure those percentages are just combined fight records not fights with the actual team

Jason Chambers site profile image  

10/8/09 10:13 PM by Jason Chambers

ACS is a great place to train. I had the opportunity to get in there a few times when I was living in AZ. Trevor and Todd are good people.Now if only I could tell them apart.

THP site profile image  

10/8/09 10:10 PM by THP

ajl416az site profile image  

10/8/09 10:05 PM by ajl416az

Efrain comes in once in awhile for sparring and there are a lot more prospects at the gym then just guys with Zuffa.  Pat Runez is going to be a terror once WEC sets up 125, he's a tough fight for ANYONE in that weight class. and i guess you are right, you need the names for the recognition.  but the training here is elite, make no mistake.  nobody will be able to deny its an elite camp, on any level, within the next few years time and the winning percentage is mentioned in Trevor's post

CRBMoney14 site profile image  

10/8/09 9:38 PM by CRBMoney14

source for the best winning percentage?And ajl to be a top camp you have to have top fighters. Prospects are nice but it depends what they turn into. Dolloway was a big prospect and so far got armbarred twice by someone who had never fought professionally and guillotined by Tom Lawlor.I wouldnt say they have a "ton" of top prosects either. I thought Efrain trained there or did I imagine that?

THP site profile image  

10/8/09 9:06 PM by THP

CRBMoneyThey have the best winning percentage of any MMA camp. Their fighters are moving up in the ranks with EVERY fight. You might remember that before Rashad became a top 10 fighter, he had to win TUF. ACS fighters are winning TUF and becoming runner ups.Varner is grossly underated in my opinion. He'd give the top 10 LW division a run for their money. His boxing skills are top notch.Lets see what happens. They are an MMA superpower though.

joesonshuevos site profile image  

10/8/09 9:00 PM by joesonshuevos

 I think a great gym can start with a guy off of the street and make him great if he has a desire and some raw talent. Or "sharpen" existing skillls and build on them. ACS does both. I personally have seen people with ZERO mma and/or BJJ experience become monsters. ACS is also blessed by being close to ASU, which makes a great feeder as we have seen. More than 1 ASU alumnus has seen amazing success. Learning passed from Haru to Matt Hume to Trevor to ASU wrestlers......scary fighters. The sky is the limit

ajl416az site profile image  

10/8/09 7:43 PM by ajl416az

you have no idea what makes a good camp if you only look at top fighters associated with them. you kind of have to build top fighters out of top prospects, and they have a ton of top prospects who are starting to come into their own.