New, local face in MMA gets leg up from veterans

By Nick Giannandrea

He trains in the gym of one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts, and he’ll enter the cage with an Ultimate Fighting Championships veteran in his corner.

But those aren’t the reasons that former Clovis East High wrestling standout and MMA upstart Kyle Griffin has a spot on the 10-bout “All Or Nothing” Tachi Palace Fights card today at the Lemoore casino.

Palace entertainment coordinator Jeremy Luchau said it was Griffin’s professionalism and attention to detail, most notable having his medical tests in order at an out-of-pocket expense of about $750 even before signing a fight contract, that landed him on the first of four TPF cards this year.

Griffin, the younger brother of UFC fighter Tyson Griffin, is set to fight Los Angeles welterweight Alan Jouban in one of the evening’s undercard bouts. Both of the Griffins train in Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture with MMA star Randy Couture.

“It’s a bonus that his brother will be with him and he trains at Xtreme Couture,” Luchau said. “He trains with the best in the world and they rave about him, so you know coming in he’s a physical talent. But it comes back to meeting him. He’s well-spoken and has a plan. He comes in as a professional and treats it as such. I want to work with guys like that.”

Griffin’s plans once centered on becoming an NCAA Division I wrestling champion. He went 125-25 during a high school career that culminated in 2004 at Clovis East after spending his first three years at Albany High. From there, it was on to Santa Rosa, where he won a state junior college title in 2006 as a freshman before transferring to NCAA power Oklahoma State.

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