Gym Rats: Broward a Training Ground for MMA Stars-to-Be

​One of the few new industries to rise from the smoldering ashes of our crumbling modern economy is Mixed Martial Arts. It seems that men in touch with their inner caveman make voracious consumers, snatching up everything from iPhone Apps to videogames and, increasingly, gym memberships.

Not even Iceman's switch from the cage to the ballroom has managed to cool off this hot sport.

It's really cooking in South Florida. After all, this is the region that produced the sport's biggest celebrity: Kimbo Slice. That, plus the Coconut Creek headquarters of American Top Team, which has ten training facilities in the tricounty area, have made South Florida a mecca for aspiring pro fighters. This weekend, I had a chat with one of those hulking pilgrims.

An amateur MMA who practices the Muay Thai style of combat, Robert Correia currently lives in Boston, but he's planning to relocate here, just to get a slice of the Kimbo pie.

"We do have qualified MMA schools in Boston, but ATT is the pinnacle of MMA training camps," says Correia. "They have a lot of champion quality fighters that train there, really making a name for themselves."

As for the sport's ferocious, enduring appeal? "It's human nature," Correia says. "People love to fight, even dating back to the Roman Coliseum days. We're modern-day gladiators."