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Looking for a few good men

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

Rob Zbilski has been involved with martial arts for most of his life. He started with karate and kickboxing before eventually transitioning into jiujitsu. Now the full-time coach and promoter is sending the best young Americans he can find to compete against fighters from all across the globe.

It didn't take Zbilksi long to see a future for himself in martial arts. He began training at an early age and after watching St. Louisan Earnest Hart Jr compete in a pro kickboxing he decided that's what he to do.

Zbilski attended a world tournament in Poland for the WAKO Organization at an event that featured over 500 fighters competing in three rings from 65 different countries. That first first taste of international competition was the seed that eventually blossomed into the MMA Sports Federation.

For over 15 years, Zbilski coached American kickboxers for the WAKO Orginization, picking up international connections along the way. Now with the popularity of MMA surpassing kickboxing, Zbilski is using those connections to setup international fights for the MMA Sports Federation.

For his contributions to martial arts, Zbilski was inducted into the the IKF Hall of Fame. As a promoter, he has produced over 200 shows since 1993, eight of which have been televised.

After getting asked to judge UFC 26, Zbilski saw potential for an MMA explosion. In 2006, he formed the MMASF. Needing to build a Team USA, they held the first ever national tournament in 2008. Over 93 fighters from 23 states competed and the first ever Team USA was formed.

Since 2008, Team USA has taken on over 15 countries, either overseas or domestically, the majority being amateur events. Just a few of the overseas destinations include Columbia, France, Australia, and Ireland.

This past weekend Team USA competed against Team Mexico in Springfield, IL with both teams splitting the event with two wins a piece.

On March 2nd, Team USA will travel to Dublin to take on Team Ireland. This will be the third meeting between the two teams. The two Countries tied their first meeting and the USA won the second. For the third meeting, Justin Lankford from Berger's MMA will be making the trip as part of Team USA.

One obstacle that MMASF has overcome is that amateurs do not retain their amateur status for very long, thus Team USA has become very fluid. Some of the athletes that have represented Team USA under the MMASF banner include Eric Irvin, Alex White, Kirk Huff, and Andrew Sanchez.

Three coaches work with MMASF with Joe Worden from Destrution MMA being the head coach. The friendship between Zbilski and Worden formed when the coach from Farmington brought then-amateur Irvin to compete on Team USA

Recently Zbilski has teamed up with St. Charles promoter Jim Jenkins and his Cage Fighting Events. Jenkins has built a reputation as one of the area's top promoters. He has promoted over 40 shows under both the Sudden Impact and SFL banners and spent most of last year working with Rumble Time Promotions with their successful pro/am events.

On Friday, February 8th, Jenkins will have the first in a series of unofficial tryouts for two planned international events. First up is a fully sponsor-paid trip to Bogota, Columbia in July with a team completely made up local talent.

If you're interested in competing for Team USA, have your coach or manager contact Jenkins at cagefightingevents@yahoo.com

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