Next Saturday, December 7, instructors, staff, and students at Royal Martial Arts in Waldorf, Maryland will come together for a cause, other than routine training. Earlier this year, a well-known mixed martial referee, former competitor, and Marine Corps Veteran passed away after a lengthy battle with PTSD and depression. Jimmy Chappell tragically died on June 23, leaving behind two small children. Chappell had two fights as an amateur mixed martial artist before taking a role as an official. He refereed contests on the regional circuits in Pennsylvania to include several UFC bouts when the promotion came to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Mike Pagano, one of the instructors at Royal Martial Arts, has put together a seminar to benefit Jimmy’s children, by assembling a list of some of the best jiu jitsu black belts in the area for a donation-based seminar. Joining Pagano in instruction will be Jamie Cruz, Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella, and Chad LeBrun. All schools and affiliations are welcome to attend the free seminar. Donations are greatly appreciated.
“Every year, for the past three years, I try to do a big event/seminar to raise awareness for veteran suicide,” Pagano said. “Since 2016, when I lost my brother Grant, I felt this is something I need and want to do.”
“I’ve said it before, ‘it’s sad when we make it home from overseas or wherever we deploy and we lose the battle at home,'” Pagano said. Although he didn’t know Chappell well, Pagano feels as a member of the Veteran community that he can help make a difference.
“It’s easy to go about our simple lives and lose touch with the ones we were close to when we were all stationed together, I try to make sure I reach out to those I’ve had a bond with and just ask them how they’re doing,” he said. “Because that could be the difference, just checking on them could make all the difference. As for helping and doing this seminar for Jimmy, I didn’t know him personally but he had reffed some of my fights and he is a Veteran that had, what I saw as a great impact on people and the MMA community, not just that he had a family he left behind. The family of our fallen Soldiers matter.”
Royal Martial Arts is located at 52 Industrial Park Dr Unit 23, Waldorf, Maryland 20602.