A Pace Student’s Passion for MMA


Pace senior Gary Frayter is hopeful he’ll find a successful career in event planning for an MMA company when he graduates. Photo Courtesy of Gary Frayter.

Kwadar Ray, Managing Editor

Pace senior Gary Frayter will admit that he has an obsessive personality. When he looks to achieve something, he gains no satisfaction from simply being good at it–he wants to be the best.

Early in his life, Frayter sought to achieve the goal of being the best mixed martial artist he could become.

Growing up in a Russian household, Frayter’s interest in combat sports was influenced by his grandfather, who was a “stereotypical masculine Russian man.”

Frayter began taekwondo at eight, picked up boxing and jiu jitsu at 13, and by 15, he was already competing in his first fight. Frayter proved to be a natural, winning gold in his first competition.

“That competition was really big for me because my family came out to watch, so that was special,” Frayter, a communications major, said.

Frayter was known in his high school as the MMA fighter who specialized in multiple fighting styles his peers had only seen on the internet. He had a love for the sport, but he realized training consumed too much time out of his life.

“In high school, my grades were so bad,” he admitted. “They were horrible and the biggest reason behind that was that I would dedicate my time to training. I wanted to become the best at MMA and often times, it would conflict with school.”

Frayter decided to tone down the training and retired from his competitive career during his senior year of high school to recover from injuries and focus on his grades.

“In college, I realized I had to live a balanced life,” he said. “It’s hard to be the best at something–especially something like MMA. If you have your mind elsewhere, you will face serious consequences if you go against someone else that is obsessed with it because that’s their whole life. In college, I had to focus on something else. I love MMA, but I had to take a different route with it.”

Frayter exited the cage for good, but he still hopes to find a career in MMA, but as an event planner rather than a fighter.

For two years, Frayter interned for World Series of Fighting, an MMA company in Las Vegas, NV, where he met a who’s who of legendary fighters such as Chuck Lidell, Nate Diaz, and Conor McGreggor.

More importantly, he also helped host events, including one in Madison Square Garden.

“Event planning kind of keeps my passion with MMA going because I really love fighting but I don’t have to be in the cage to get that experience,” he said. “I would argue that I actually love the behind the scenes aspect a little bit more than anything.”

Outside of MMA, Frayter also works as a personal trainer in Stamford, CT, where his clients are mostly affluent moms and dads looking to get back in shape.

It may not seem as thrilling as fighting, but just like combat, Frayter puts his heart into personal training and strives to be the best at it.

“I’m passionate about [personal training] and it’s something I do love,” he said. “One of the clients I had starting out couldn’t do a pull up; he was out of shape and in a bad place. After coming to me, he’s gained more confidence. Another client I had was a guy who had slipped disc from surgery 10 years ago and woke up in pain every morning. After doing the workout program, he doesn’t have pains in the morning.”

“Those types of little things are a confidence boost for me, to be quite honest,” he said. “I love helping other people too, but I also like the feeling of proving and knowing that I know my stuff and how to train people.”

Frayter may be retired from competition and focused on personal training, but his interest in MMA has not vanished. Frayter is still an MMA fanatic who can talk with someone about the sport until the sun comes up.

“I don’t follow anything else,” he said.”I don’t understand baseball or tennis, that stuff is so foreign to me. When I watch MMA and when I hear people screaming and fighting at those live events, there’s nothing more exciting than that to me. I just can’t wrap my head around someone not loving it.”