Confused why MMA instructor left Gilroy Health & Fitness

Brianna Va Buren does some ground work with Tony Silva during practice Friday with AntDawg's USH Fight Team at Gilroy Health and Fitness.

“I am unsure what happened with Antdawg and the contract he had with Gilroy Health and Fitness, but it seems that he was deliberately kicked out of the gym. Our children are now left without a coach. We parents signed up our kids to the facility to practice under Antdawg. I want some answers from the facility. More than 50 kids are affected by this horrible injustice. I am now in a contract for 12 months with four more months remaining. I signed up my daughter to attend MMA with Antdawg not any other coach.”

Red Phone: Anthony “AntDawg” Figueroa taught his martial arts class at Gilroy Health & Fitness for about a year before being unable to settle on a new contract with owner Joe Gigantino. Gigantino, who also runs Los Gatos Health & Fitness, said he asked Figueroa to take a pay cut because of financial concerns, but Figueroa declined and opted to leave.

The martial arts teacher said he wants to move into a new studio by the start of the year and said he will probably return to managing it on his own like he did prior to teaching at Gilroy Health & Fitness.

“It is unfortunate more for the kids,” Figueroa said. “I am just trying to give the kids an outlet and provide them with structure. The community has been very supportive. I don’t want to bash anyone. I am just trying to move forward and get the members back on track.”

Figueroa said he wished it would have worked out but said he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward his former employer.

The classes had about 60 kids age 5 to 17, Figueroa said.

“My goal is to help them become good adults,” he said. “Martial arts is what helped me, and I want to give back.”

There are no plans to provide refunds to members who signed up because of the wide variety of training options available, Gigantino said. The gym will continuing to add cardio and conditioning classes rather than classes geared only toward fighters, he said.

“I have seen some great instructors come and go,” Gigantino said. “People want to have confidence their instructors will teach them well. MMA is popular in this area. But there are so many other aspects to training. It is just one part of it. I don’t think it will miss a beat.”

Figueroa, a Gilroy native, returned to the ring in September after a nine-month layoff and defeated Fred Lux at the Coalition of Combat’s Pound 4 Pound mixed martial arts event in Phoenix. He is still waiting for his next fight to be finalized.

Leave your comments