Above photo by Angelo Carchesio – AngeloJ80_Photography
James Meals began competing in combat sports at a time when regulations were not exactly where they are today. The Driven Gym owner’s first recorded fight (depending on which site you look at) was roughly 17 years ago in 2001 when he took on Shawn Upshur at Rage in the Cage 27. Fast forward to today and the 35 year old fighter will tell you that although he has not fought professionally since 2011, he is not certain he is completely done with competition.
While Meals may not have amassed a winning record (6-19 on paper) over 10 years, his drive to compete never surrendered. Now with a more family oriented mindset Meals says it became a calling for him to open the gym in Woodbridge, New Jersey. With more than 100 students at the facility and close to 20 in active competition, Driven Gym has become one of the Garden State’s most prominent mixed martial arts facilities in just a few short years. Throw in a newly added affiliation with famed jiu-jitsu practitioner and former UFC fighter Tom DeBlass and the platform for success has just increased.
Meals talks with MyMMANews about memorable fights, fight team, what the future looks like for Driven Gym.