Following the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, two Staten Island municipal employees — who have built a name for themselves in the worlds of wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) — were forced to put their ambition of developing the knowledge and skills of MMA combatants on hiatus.
In October, Mark Fileccia, an FDNY captain and retired MMA fighter from Tottenville, and Joe Peteroy, a renowned athlete and Graniteville municipal correctional officer who met via their mutual love of MMA, realized their dream of building an inexpensive mixed martial arts facility.
The trio partnered up with Brazilian professional fighter Marcio Bittencourt to open Staten Island Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/MMA in Westerleigh, where they have earned a slew of trophies.
“The reason we started this gym is quite different from other schools,” said Peteroy, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who has also competed in kickboxing and MMA and won several Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championships. “In most cases, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is too costly. My work colleagues and I have no intention of generating revenue from our institution. We just charge the smallest sums to our pupils so that we can meet our lease. Several individuals didn’t train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since it was too costly, Joe and I realized. That issue has been resolved. We will not turn anybody away due to a lack of funds.”
Because he and Fileccia — who continues to hold a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a recently retired MMA fighter with a track of 31 victories and two setbacks, as well as a New York state kickboxing titleholder and a New Jersey MMA cage-fighting winner — both collaborate for the community, they offer significant discounts to municipal employees, as well as men and women in uniform.
“Some of our students have lost their jobs or are experiencing financial difficulties. However, we will always be there to assist them. You may also practice for free at our gym if you have a family member who is a wounded [US Military] warrior,” Peteroy stated.
The fitness center has drawn students of different martial arts areas of study since its inception.
“Our students and instructors come from a wide range of backgrounds. “Our boxing instructor is a former female boxing champion with a 31-2 record,” Peteroy stated. “If our gym makes a profit, we want to give a large portion of it to charities like the Staten Island Clean-Up Crew, which cleans up trash and graffiti on Staten Island.”
For those aged 12 and older, the gym provides a range of courses.
“The place has exploded since we opened.” It was the most acceptable decision we ever made. So it’s a little cheesy, but it’s actually a school founded on our relationship and the bond Mark, and I have,” Peteroy said.
The Staten Island Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/MMA competition team has previously competed internationally and won several trophies.
“Our instructors are mostly former amateurs and professional boxers. All of our teachers have competed, so they know how to prepare our students for competition. “Most schools don’t provide this degree of education,” Peteroy said.
To groom at Staten Island Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/MMA, you don’t have to be an MMA athlete.
“Some folks workout with us in the hopes of losing 50 pounds.” Some people aspire to be warriors. We’re attempting to get folks to put themselves to the test against others to see whether they’re ready. “I’d never put someone out there who wasn’t ready,” Peteroy stated.
“Everyone is welcome.” “We are here to train novices, professional combatants, and everything in between,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first day going into a gym or if you’ve fought 20 times before.”.