April 12, 2013

Dalton gym doubles down on titles

Morgan, Slaughter win belts at 3FC event

Devin Golden

— Jarrett Slaughter was the reason Jeremiah Morgan started training at the North Georgia Hayastan MMA Academy, so having each mixed martial artist win his first championship at the same event was a nice bonus.

Slaughter and Morgan, both LaFayette residents who train at the Dalton gym, won the 3 Fighting Championship heavyweight title and middleweight title, respectively, this past Saturday at the 3FC 16 event titled “Gladiators.” It was held at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Slaughter, nicknamed “Bear,” defeated Michael “Bedrock” Snapp via split decision to earn the belt. Slaughter won the first and third rounds while Snapp, who was 4-1 entering the fight, won the second.

“I knew the guy was going to be tough,” said Slaughter, who now holds a 3-1 record. “I knew he was coming to brawl because he was heavy-handed. I knew I had to get my cardio up because he was a big guy.

“There were actually one or two times in the match when I thought the ref would stop it because he was pounding my head in pretty good.”

Immediately after his win, Slaughter watched Morgan’s fight. Slaughter has been training at North Georgia Hayastan for four years and convinced Morgan to join him there two years ago.

“I walked out with him and helped corner him in his fight,” Slaughter said. “It’s even better. It’s like double the victory.”

Morgan defeated Timmy Eisenbraun via unanimous decision and is 2-0 in his MMA career.

“With (Slaughter) training for a fight and me training for a fight, we kind of pushed one another a little harder in the gym,” Morgan said. “I want to defend the belt maybe two or three times and become (an MMA instructor) and help other people.”

Morgan said winning titles is an accomplishment for him and the gym.

“It lets people know the gym isn’t a joke, that we do train and are pretty good at it,” he said. “Our gym is a grinding gym where we work really hard and it pays off.”

Slaughter, 26, and Morgan, 29, became the gym’s third and fourth championship holders. Dustin Dyer and David Miles won championships in the X Series and Rising Fight League in 2010.

“This 3FC event, they set out to make it the biggest 3FC event to date and did that,” said Leonardo Lechuga, the gym’s owner. “They had three pro fights on the card and five championships on the line. They gave us an opportunity in two of the title matches. The fight predictors and MMA insiders were predicting us to lose both.”

Lechuga said the 3FC promotion, which is based in Tennessee, had competitors primarily from that state and Georgia, plus Virginia and North Carolina. But he added that Saturday’s show even attracted a fighter from Utah, and the gym going 2-for-2 in title matches at an event this large adds to the prestige.

“When we go out, we want Dalton to be recognized as a place where good fighters come from,” he said. “I think we did pretty good with that.”