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GFC grabbing notice

Glendale Fighting Club is quickly developing a top-notch repution in the boxing and MMA worlds.

August 19, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

More than just another fighter training center, at a time when one seems to be springing up on every other corner, the Glendale Fighting Club has transcended that status and become a hub of activity and a touchstone of significance in the fighting scene, both near and far.

The modest yet sparklingly clean and well-outfitted corner shop situated among rows of car dealerships on Brand Blvd. serves as the base of operations for two longtime friends, Edmond Tarverdyan and George Bastrmajyan, who together comprise one of the fastest rising grass-roots enterprises in training, management and promotions in the current landscape of combat sports.

"I really don't have to go after fighters, people just come to us now," says Bastrmajyan, who co-founded Lights Out Promotions with Tarverdyan in 2004. "Everything's coming together. Right now, the sky is the limit."

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For GFC proprietor Tarverdyan, a highly respected and sought-after trainer in boxing and striking technique with a client list that includes established, as well as, up-and-coming names in boxing and mixed martial arts, and his partner Bastrmajyan, who manages and coordinates promotions for much of the same talent, success didn't come overnight.

At the ripe old age of 29, Tarverdyan has been studying martial arts since he was 7 and has been training others for more than half of his life. He's also basking in retirement from a professional Muay Thai kickboxing career that netted him a slew of world title belts.

His journey began in his hometown of Kirovakan, Armenia, where he first began to study karate and boxing with his brother Raymond and his uncle Zhorzik.

"In Armenia, martial arts was so popular because of Bruce Lee," Tarverdyan says. "Everybody either did karate or anything like that."

By 8, Tarverdyan had arrived in Glendale with his family and by his teenage years was working with renowned amateur trainer Ken Harutyunyan.

"Any stand-up fighting, we did pretty much everything," Tarverdyan said. "When I was 16, I wanted to get more serious, into something where there was a professional league and there was nothing except Muay Thai.

"The good thing about our gyms is that we always had the martial arts programs and boxing, as well, so we always did both. No ground fighting because UFC back then wasn't that big and we never thought it would be that big."

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