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In this corner

Sweep the leg, Paul.
Sweep the leg, Paul.

From CIS wrestler to professional MMA fighter

Article: Taylor Sockett – Distribution Manager

I have often wondered what goes into the making of a professional fighter. After all, I have seen all of the Rocky movies, so I assumed all it took were a frozen side of beef and a lot of raw egg drinking.

So when I was given the opportunity to interview a real fighter that attends the University of Regina, I jumped at the opportunity and essentially began picturing a training montage.

Turns out there was no 80s motivational music, no side of frozen beef, not even a raw egg anywhere in sight, just a fighter preparing to go to war.

Paul Grebinski isn’t your everyday, average, third-year arts student at the University of Regina; he has an uncanny ability to beat the crap out of people.

Thankfully, Grebinski has found somewhere to practice his art, while training as a professional MMA fighter. In the Maximum Fighting Championship, he sports a 1-0 record.

While watching his training session, I quickly realized that Grebinski has a number of important people helping push him towards success. I watched as Grebinski’s teammates lined up to beat the crap out of him round after round in a tough sparring session, but as brutal as it may sound, they were encouraging him every step of the way.

However, for Grebinski, the most important person in his corner has to be coach, A.J. Scales.
“ [Scales has] been my coach since day one. He’s supported me, believed in me from day one, helped me in all aspects of the game,” Grebinski said. “[Scales] took me from a chubby little goof ball and turned me into a professional fighter at the highest level of Canada. I owe everything I have in this sport to him”.

Prior to seeing this training session live, I thought fighting was an individual sport, but now I realize how important the support of a fighter’s team is. When sitting down with Grebinski, one of the things that stood out to me the most is how humble he is; he has not forgotten where he comes from.

And when asked about how his time with the U of R wrestling program has helped with his development as a fighter, Grebinski was quick to give full credit to the Cougars.

“It took me from amateur to professional for sure. The University’s wrestling program doesn’t get a lot of attention and it’s one of the best programs there is in the school’s history,” he said, “The guys in the room put so much effort in for no one else but themselves. It really made you buy into it. That carried over for sure”.

Grebinski will be taking his show on the road in January into a hostile environment in Edmonton where he will be fighting the local Jarred “The Yeti” McComb on Friday, Jan. 17at MFC 39 No Remorse.

Now, having the nickname “The Yeti” must mean something, so I did some research and came to the conclusion that McComb is – in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger – “one ugly mother fucker.” That was the only logical reason I could determine for calling someone “The Yeti.”

When I asked Grebinski about the nickname, he believed it seemed fitting.
“He is the ugliest guy I’ve ever seen in my life, so I’ve got to like get prepared to fight someone so ugly. It freaks you out a little.”
Looks aside, Grebinski acknowledges that this will be his “toughest fight ever,” as McComb sports a 5-3-1 record, making him the more experienced professional fighter, and also has the hometown crowd on his side.

However, Grebinski does not feel that he is the underdog.
“On paper, I think I’m a favorite because of my wrestling and Jiu Jitzu,” said Grebinski, who sports a successful amateur career, which was not taken into account.

The most important thing I learned at this training session was that if I ever stepped into the ring, I would die. The amount of sacrifices fighters make is almost super-human and is clearly the reason most of us watch from the stands.

While I’m still questioning the lack of 80s music and raw eggs, Grebinski has the heart it will take to turn “The Yeti” back into an urban legend.

Image: Arthur Ward

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