SBG’s Mann Defends MMA Title Against Graves


GREAT FALLS, MT, NOVEMBER 10, 2018 – Fusion Fight League’s Border Wars
SBG Montana’s Marnic Mann defended her title against Veronica Graves at Fusion Fight League’s Border Wars MMA event.

Mann won by a unanimous decision after 5 rounds of back-and-forth, technical fighting, retaining her belt and her title.

Graves started the fight strong with a deep arm bar attempt in the 1st round, but Mann remained composed, defended and made it to the bell. 

From there they alternated winning rounds. Mann did damage on the feet with hard punches and knees to the liver of Graves in the clinch, and crushing blows to the head when they were at distance. 

As the the rounds wore on Mann’s wrestling and body shots made the difference as she put Graves on the mat multiple times and the accumulated body attacks exhausted Graves. 

By the time they entered the 5th and final round, Mann and Graves had won 2 rounds each. Mann immediately opened the round with hard punching and a take down, only to be reversed a short time later, ending up on the bottom. 

Mann maintained her calm, did damage with up kicks and punches from the bottom, took no damage and eventually worked her way back to the feet. The judges awarded Mann a close but unanimous decision to retain her belt. 

Coach Daniel Di Stefano of SBG Whitefish commented, “Mann worked hard in training camp and it showed. She was fresh throughout all 5 rounds, neutralized her opponent’s offense, and maintained composure when she was in trouble.”

Di Stefano continued, “Her mental toughness combined with excellent conditioning allowed her to keep coming down the stretch. She’s a special athlete with a bright future, I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next.”

SBG Montana’s Gage Morsette fought on the same card and moved to 3-0 as he displayed a dominant grappling game against explosively athletic striker Louie Lopez. Despite Lopez’s attempts to keep the fight standing, Morsette was relentless in his pursuit of take downs that Lopez simply could not stop. 

Morsette displayed an arsenal of trips, double legs, and upper body throws, at one point hoisting Lopez above his head, carrying him across the cage and slamming him to the ground. Morsette’s positional dominance led to punishing ground and pound resulting in a TKO in the second round.

Di Stefano shared, “Gage has all the potential in the world, this dominant display is just a preview of what he is capable of. This fight tested him, but his calm unruffled cage demeanor and solid grappling will be hard for any opponent to deal with.”

For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244, email at, or visit the website at


SBG Celebrates Wins, 10 year Legacy at Revolution


TACOMA, WA, NOVEMBER 3RD & 4TH, 2018 – Revolution XXXVIII BJJ Tournament

As SBG Montana celebrates it’s 10th anniversary, the years of competing at tournaments across the northwest paid off at this weekend’s Revolution BJJ tournament in Tacoma, WA.

Sixteen athletes brought home a total of 23 medals in the youth and adult divisions: 7 gold, 9 silver, and 7 bronze.

Head Coach Cody Bessette of SBG Bigfork took gold in No Gi and was named Top Ranked Athlete for 2018 in his division. Colton Wieczorek (15 yrs) took double silver in the Men’s White Belt Gi and No Gi divisions. Lakoda Wieczorek (13 yrs) took double gold in the Youth Yellow Belt Gi and No Gi divisions. Isabella Downing (11 yrs) took Silver in Gi and Gold in No Gi in the Youth Yellow Belt Divisions.

Tournaments are the way in which SBG Athletes can test their jiu jitsu skills. Competition offers a unique learning environment that, win or lose, takes an athlete’s training to the next level.

Bessette shared, “The Revolution Tournament was another phenomenal experience and a well-run tournament where we were able to put our skills to the test and learn so much more about ourselves than we ever thought possible. As a competitor I have always found it a wonderful eye opener to realize the depth of the art that is BJJ.”

More valuable than the medals are the life lessons that athletes learn from the experience. Downing’s mother, Kristin Downing, shared how competition has enriched her daughter’s personal development.

“In the three years she has been competing, traveling and tournaments has shaped her into a better athlete. She has learned patience, how to lose, how to work hard for her end goal, and that she will not always leave with a medal.”

SBG’s supportive training environment and knowledgable coaches gave Downing the space to learn those lessons. “Bella’s coaches have taken time to work with her when she needs extra time and skill lessons for upcoming tournaments. They have been very supportive for all of the competitions she attends, not matter the distance.”

Wieczorek is part of a family of 7 that has been training with SBG for four years. This was his first time competing in the adult divisions. His experience in BJJ tournaments gave him the skills to overcome obstacles beyond SBG.

His mother, Angela Wieczorek, commented, “We have competed in almost 25+ tournaments since starting at the gym. No matter the outcome of each competition we always walk away with new lessons, new experiences, and new growth as individuals.”

Ms. Wieczorek is one of dozens of adult athletes at SBG who train alongside her children. Competition offers her the same outlet for personal growth that it does her children.

“Competition makes you face your fears and step out of your comfort zone,” she shared. “How do you know how you will react in a real life defense situation if you don’t force yourself to react under pressure in a controlled environment?”

For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244, email at, or visit the website at

Team Results:


  • Aiden Shaver (Kalispell) – Gi, Bronze
  • Bryn Anderson (Kalispell) – Gi, Bronze – No Gi, Bronze
  • Cayden Wieczorek (Kalispell) – Gi, Bronze – No Gi, Silver
  • Fisher Sliter (Whitefish) – Gi, Silver
  • Isabella Downing (Whitefish) – Gi, Silver – No Gi, Gold
  • Kalijah Wieczorek (Kalispell) – Gi, Silver – No Gi, Gol
  • Keara Wieczorek (Kalispell) – Gi, Bronze
  • Lakoda Wieczorek (Kalispell) – Gi, Gold – No Gi, Gold
  • Lex Bessette (Kalispell) – Gi, Bronze – No Gi, Silver
  • Nevi Bessette (Kalispell) – Gi, Gold


  • Cody Bessette (Bigfork) – No Gi, Gold
  • Colton Wieczorek (Kalispell) – Gi, Silver – No Gi, Silver
  • Meral Jobes (Kalispell) – Gi, Bronze – No Gi, Silver
  • Sarah Garcia (Kalispell) – Gi, Silver – No Gi, Bronze


SBG’s 1st Female MMA Athlete Wins Fusion Title


KALISPELL, MT, OCTOBER 2, 2018 – Fusion Fight Night, Billings, MT

Straight Blast Gym’s Marnic Mann won the Fusion Fight League Title in an MMA bout on Saturday, September 29th in Billings, MT.

She was declared the winner by TKO and the new champion in the Women’s 115 lb division.

Mann fought against Ireland Moran of Billings. Mann dropped Moran with a straight left hand to start the first round and finished the round on top in the guard.

The second round saw two exchange punches and kicks before clinching up. Mann managed to mount Moran off a failed takedown attempt and ultimately won the fight with strikes from the mount.

Mann said of her performance, “ I trained so hard, put my mind where it needed to be, stayed relaxed, and got it done.”

Head Coach Travis Davison commented, “She was 3-0 going into the fight but none of her previous fights were against opponents with Ireland’s experience or with title implications. The fight was in Moran’s hometown of Billings and the crowd was overwhelming in her favor. Despite all this Marnic kept her composure and fought a near perfect fight.”

Davison is excited to see where Mann takes her MMA career from here.

“She is now 4-0 with her first title defense scheduled for November 10th in Great Falls, MT. SBG’s Marnic Mann has a bright future and is definitely one to watch.”

For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244.

For SBG Athletes, Confidence in Competition Expands at Oregon Open


HILLSBORO, OR, SEPTEMBER 8, 2018 – Oregon Open Jiu Jitsu Championship

Students from Straight Blast Gym traveled to the Oregon Open Jiu Jitsu Championship in Hillsboro, Oregon on Saturday, September 8th.

SBG Whitefish’s Isabella Downing won gold in both the Gi and No Gi divisions. SBG Kalispell’s Bryn Anderson won bronze in the beginner No Gi division.

Head Coach Travis Davison commented, “Bryn Andersen and Bella Downing are a joy to coach and both performed well. Bryn earned a bronze medal and Bella had a flawless performance earning double gold.”

The tournament is the largest jiu jitsu tournament in Oregon and a valuable opportunity for competitors to experience International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation rules, an organization that hosts some of the largest BJJ tournaments in the world.

Both Downing and Anderson have previous experience competing in the Oregon Open. Traveling to tournaments in the northwest, California, and Nevada has been formative experiences in the athletic and personal development of these young athletes.

“Attending tournaments away from home helps these children gain confidence and also forges friendships with fellow teammates,” said Kristin Downing, Isabella’s mother. “My child is very lucky to have these opportunities provided by SBG as well as by [Head Coaches] Travis and Kisa [Davison].”

Tournaments offer a unique opportunity for SBG’s young athletes to gain confidence by performing in front of a large crowd in an unfamiliar environment.

Davison added, “Both of these kids handle pressure well and continue to gain confidence with each passing tournament.”

For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244.

Team Results:

Isabella Downing (SBG Whitefish)
Youth Gi – Yellow – Gold
Youth NoGi – Intermediate – Gold

Bryn Anderson (SBG Kalispell)
Youth Gi – Grey – No placement
Youth NoGi – Beginner – Bronze

SBG’s Davison Takes Silver at Judo US Open


FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, July 27th & 28th, 2018 – 2018 US Open Judo Championships

SBG Montana’s Stella Davison competed in the 2018 US Open Judo Championships held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday, July 27th & Saturday, July 28th.

For Davison, this was a tournament of firsts: first time at the US Open International; first time competing as a brown belt; and first time competing in a higher weight class. Davison won silver in her division, competing against the top US athletes in Judo.

Head Coach Sean Saadi said of the event, “This event included over 800 competitors representing 23 different countries. It was a great event for Stella on many levels and getting a Silver medal here is impressive. We tested the waters in a higher weight division against unfamiliar competitors.”

Davison said of the experience, “This competition brought a set of different challenges. There were a number of obstacles in my path to the podium, and I did everything in my power to hurdle them! I didn’t come home with the gold that I had been a striving for, but any place on the podium at this high level of competition is nothing to be ashamed of. When I look at my medal I see proof of all of hours I spent on the mats, the drops of sweat and tears that slide down my cheeks.”

Davison will finish the 2018 season at the upcoming President’s Cup in November and then start planning and preparing for the 2019 season.

PRESS RELEASE: SBG Grows Beyond Limits at Revolution Tournament


TACOMA, WA, SUNDAY, JULY 21ST & 22ND, 2018 – Revolution XXXVII Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament

As Straight Blast Gym celebrates making the Best of the Flathead for Best Martial Arts gym, their athletes brought home 10 medals from the Revolution Tournament in Tacoma, WA.

Competition is at the cornerstone of training at SBG, which participates in several tournaments throughout the year.

Kristin Downing said competition has been a formative experience for her daughter, Bella Downing age X of SBG Whitefish, who has been competing for about 3 years.

Competition is a great experience for Bella to test her jiu jitsu skills, travel with her friends, and get out of her comfort zone. Rolling with athletes outside of her gym has really helped her grow.”

Less than a year after it opened it’s doors, students from SBG Bigfork continue to branch out in the competition scene, winning 3 medals from the tournament.

Cody Bessette is Owner and Head Coach of SBG Bigfork, which was runner-up for Best New Business in this year’s Best of the Flathead.

“As a coach, competitor, and father, I was in a unique position to experience a roller coaster of emotions,” Bessette commented. 

“Competing is not easy. I couldn’t be more proud of our team and the results speak for themselves. I truly believe we become better people every time we step out of comfort zone, face adversity, and push through the hardest of times.”

The experience that SBG athletes get from tournaments is what has elevated it’s quality of training to the best in the valley.

The gym, which is part of a worldwide martial arts organization, has found that testing a student’s abilities against an opponent ultimately improves their jiu jitsu skills.

For more information about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Yoga, Fitness, and Kids Programs, call 406-752-7244, email at, or visit the website at

Team Results

Cody Bessette – Gold, No Gi
Dakota Tackett – Silver, No Gi
Ricky Davison – Silver, No Gi
Bella Downing – 3rd, Gi – 1st, No Gi
Aven Ames – 3rd Gi – 3rd No Gi
Fisher Sliter – 3rd Gi
Lex Bessette – 1st Gi
Charlotte Brents – 2nd, No Gi

Strong Bonds & Team Spirit At Gorilla Cup Tournament


Columbia Falls, MT, April 14, 2018 – SBG Montana Gorilla Cup BJJ Tournament

Straight Blast Gym of Montana held it’s largest Gorilla Cup Tournament in its 8 year history on Saturday, April 14th.

The tribe spirit was energetic and celebratory in the gymnasium of Columbia Falls High School. With locations in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, and Missoula, the tournament drew over 160 competitors in the youth and adult divisions.

Elena Merrill of SBG Missoula shared:

“At the Gorilla Cup it was clear that Head Coaches Bekah Bell and Gus Nolte and the rest of the Montana tribe all truly live the ‘one tribe one vibe’ mantra. As someone who has been training BJJ for less than 6 months, I’m more excited than ever to get on the mats and compete at the next Gorilla Cup!”

The martial arts gym holds the Gorilla Cup twice a year as a fundraiser for the Gorilla Booster Club. The GBC is a nonprofit the gym started to raise money and send competitors to tournaments across the country.

Attendance at the Gorilla Cup has grown so much over the years that the event outgrew their available gym space. With athletes from two new locations participating, SBG recognized an opportunity to take the event to a more sophisticated level.

Head Coach Cody Bessette of SBG Bigfork commented:

“To come together like we did shows how important every member and supporter is. To build a team like we did and have our students put themselves on the mat, showing poise, confidence, and humility, is truly humbling as a coach.”

The gym at Columbia High School made that opportunity possible. It offered ample space for BJJ matches and spectators without dipping too deep into the nonprofit’s funds.

With space for more competitors and spectators, the Gorilla Cup gives competitors the full tournament experience.

In the larger space, SBG was able to create the same procedures for typical martial arts tournaments such as proper attire and conduct that is required of athletes. For new competitors the experience taught them what to expect at larger tournaments.

For Amanda Allen of SBG Bigfork, her first experience in a tournament left her with a positive impression on competition.

Allen said:

“I have complete faith in my coach [Cody Bessette]5 and his ability to lead and ended up overcoming some of my biggest fears that day. We either win or learn and I gained a wealth of knowledge from the experience.”

More importantly, competing in martial arts tournaments instills grit in athletes, a characteristic that is valuable on and off the mats.

In a speech that Head Coach Travis Davison traditionally gives before each tournament, he explained to parents of youth competitors what their children would take away from the experience.

“Competition teaches kids how to becoming grittier human beings. That way as they approach problems in life, they don’t see those as fatal. They realize that it’s just a bump in the road. They pick themselves up and they keep going.”

By experiencing loss and failure in martial arts tournaments, athletes develop skills for dealing with life’s setbacks.

“I hope that through losing on the mat here and realizing when things don’t go their way and they face other choices in life that they’ll pick themselves back up and be gritty and keep moving.”

The event was the result of eight years of hard work and dedication to excellence for Head Coaches Travis and Kisa Davison. The Gorilla Cup is one of several events throughout the year in which the Montana SBG tribe comes together.

Travis Davison shared:

“The result of ten years hard work was on display Saturday. What started as one SBG gym in Montana has swelled to four. All were present at the Gorilla Cup. The toughest part of the day for Kisa and I was holding back tears of pride. I can’t wait to see what the event in October brings.”