Give us a brief introduction to you -- where you come from, etc?
My name is Tony Gravely and I’m 28 years old. I am from Martinsville, VA, which is a very small southern city right at the Virginia/North Carolina state line. People only ever hear of my hometown because we have a NASCAR track. The cool hangout spots growing up were either Wal-Mart or the movie theatre, which shows how little there is to do in Martinsville. After graduating from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, I moved to Radford, Virginia, which is where my wife was attending college. We planned to move to a larger city, such as Charlotte or Raleigh, North Carolina once she graduated, but that plan changed once I started training to fight. I’ve lived here since 2013 because I found such a great gym to train at. I knew this was where I needed to be in order to achieve my goals.
Tell us a bit about you -- your story, how you / your company are “on the RISE”
Once I moved to Radford after graduating college, I was hoping to find a gym so I could stay in shape. I randomly ran into someone from my hometown that recommended a gym in Christiansburg, Virginia, Tech MMA & Fitness Academy. They offer a wide range of classes, such as Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Combat Fitness. Once I started attending these classes, I knew knew that this was my opportunity to pursue my lifelong dream of fighting in the UFC. When I started fighting as an amateur, I was working as a Construction Project Manager in Roanoke, VA. Once I got off work each day, I would go straight to the gym and train from two to three hours. As I continued to progress as a fighter, I realized I needed to be able to put in more training hours to reach my goal of eventually fighting in the UFC. After talking about it with my wife, I decided to quit my job and train full time. It definitely wasn’t easy because I made very little money fighting, so we basically lived off of one income. Through the years, I have put my all in becoming the best fighter I can be. I fought for many great promotions up and down the east coast and was eventually offered a fight on Dana White’s Contender Series in August of 2019. I won this fight by TKO and was given a UFC contract that night by Dana White.
How did you end up doing what you do?
I’ve been fighting and training martial arts my entire life. My dad was a Tae Kwon Do instructor for over 25 years, so I started taking Tae Kwon Do when I was about three or four years old. Throughout my entire childhood, we watched UFC fights along with many other fighting movies. I trained and competed in Tae Kwon Do until I started wrestling in sixth grade. I then wrestled from sixth grade all the way through college. Not long after I graduated college in 2013, I got the opportunity to train MMA. Fighting has always been a part of my life and ever since I was a child, I always had aspirations of fighting for the UFC.
Tell us more about what you do in your work?
I’m a professional mixed martial arts fighter for the biggest MMA promotion in the world, the UFC. My day to day consists of training for six to eight hours in various styles of fighting from kickboxing to wrestling and everything in between. I spend a majority of my time training at my gym, Tech MMA & Fitness Academy, but I also have the privilege of working with the Virginia Tech wrestling team at the Southeast Regional Training Center. The amount of fights I have each year varies, but I try to stay as active as possible to remain prepared for any opportunities, such as fighting on short notice.
Tell us a bit about how you know RISE, how you integrate RISE into your life, what you’d recommend to friends about it -- we’re open!
I know that RISE offers a variety of cold brew coffee and I would definitely recommend it to others not only because it’s non-GMO and made with organic ingredients, but because there is a wide variety of delicious flavors for coffee drinkers to choose from. I drink coffee each morning before my first work out because it gives me a needed boost to start the day. Because RISE contains more caffeine than the standard coffee, this certainly gives me the boost I need to put in a hard workout. I also enjoy coffee later on in the day before an afternoon workout session. Working out six to eight hours a day can be exhausting, so a midday RISE nitro cold brew helps me stay energized.