This is a guest post by Mike Schmitz of TapouT’s Virtual Training Center. TapouT VTC offers over 400 on demand MMA training videos from over 30 top pros and coaches. Content is added on a weekly basis and also includes MMA workouts, nutritional tips and exclusive interviews.

If it weren’t for a Washington Nationals right fielder and an Indianapolis Fire Department firefighter, Matt Mitrione wouldn’t be where he is today.

Wait, what?

That’s right, Mitrione was first introduced to mixed martial arts by MLB veteran Jayson Werth and eventually developed under the tutelage of UFC veteran and full-time firefighter Chris Lytle.

“My good friend Jayson Werth, who plays baseball for the Nationals, he’s the one who got me involved in MMA,” Mitrione said in a recent interview with TapouT VTC. “I pretty much owe my success and opportunity to Jayson otherwise I probably wouldn’t have ever done it, just watched it from afar.”

Werth owns Capital City Cage Wars, an MMA promotion in central Illinois, and sparked Mitrione’s interest in mixed martial arts before Meathead joined Lytle’s gym, Integrated Fighting Academy.

Mitrione arrived at Integrated Fighting in Indianapolis as an NFL injury dropout with only Purdue wrestling career to his name. But soon enough, Lytle, UFC Light Heavyweight Jake O’Brien and a team of other notable trainers helped Mitrione begin to maximize his potential.

“They were my mentors, that’s who brought me in,” Mitrione said. “Jake was my training partner for a long period of time, was pretty much my only training partner. It’s kind of funny that I suck so bad at wrestling and Jake O’Brien was one of the best pure wrestlers in MMA for a while.”

Lytle, O’Brien and Integrated Fighting gave Mitrione the foundation he needed to jump out to a 5-0 start like he has. But more than anything, his first gym helped transfer his gridiron toughness to the Octagon.

“I will never go into a fight and fight not to lose. That’s not how I get down. The reason why it’s not how I get down is partially because my mentor is Chris Lytle and he does not ever fight not to lose,” Mitrione said. “He’s going to go out there and put on a damn good show whether he wins or loses.”

Integrated Fighting Academy was eventually forced to close, but Mitrione and the team are working to bring back the gym where he got his start. They found a place at the ISS building in Indianapolis, a building that also features AAU basketball tournaments and volleyball tournaments.

“We got a spot and we got some coaches and we’re trying to get the contractual stuff done so we can figure it out and get going,” Mitrione said on Thursday.

Integrated Fighting Academy will have 3,200 square feet at their disposal and won’t have to worry about the pressure that comes with being the only revenue-producer.

The building brings in money through basketball and volleyball, resulting in a less stressful environment for Mitrione and his team.

“The good thing is, like anyone who’s ever been involved in a gym knows, if all the revenue is dependent upon MMA or jiu-jitsu it becomes a very stressful environment because at times it becomes a little bit slow,” Mitrione said. “I think the good thing is that this gym has revenue sources that are way above and beyond MMA.”

Mitrione said that once things are finalized, Integrated Fighting Academy will become the first ever Hayabusa sponsored gym. But beyond that, re-assembling the team that helped get Mitrione started hits home for Meathead.

“Everything’s starting to come back together like it used to be and that’s a really good thing for all of us,” Mitrione said.

Train with Mitrione at TapouT VTC

Train with Matt Mitrione at TapouT’s Virtual Training Center where Meathead teaches modules in stand-up and grappling.

“With TapouT VTC you can watch the best MMA fighters and trainers teach the best techniques, which is pretty damn good for your development,” Mitrione said. “It’s really beneficial to fighters and especially people that are developing, because you can learn hundreds of techniques in detail. It teaches you ‘this is what I should do in this situation.’ It gives you step-by-step and shows you an in-depth breakdown of it.”

Learn the following courses from Mitrione at TapouT VTC:

Jab, Angles for a Lefty, Proper Angles for Inside Leg Kick, Defense: Takedown Against Cage, Sprawl, Upside Guard Sweep, Upside Down Guard to Ground and Pound, Guard Pass, Inverted Crucifix, and Knees From Side Mount.