The New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame is extremely proud of its fourth class of inductees to the New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame. This class will be honored at the fourth dinner gala to be held at the beautiful La Quinta Inns & Suites on December 4, 2015.

On December 4th, Sam Marji will be inducted for his Amateur MMA Training.

Sam Marji is the highly-respected owner and head coach of Animals MMA in his hometown of Yonkers, NY, an impressive 10,000 square-foot facility, sporting ample mat space, a boxing ring, cage, and weight room.

His journey into mixed martial arts began in the winter of 2000, opening Animals MMA just six years later. He won the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship as a brown belt in 2010, and received his black belt in 2011.

Diagnosed with cancer within a year of opening Animals, Sam's passion for MMA, and his mission to develop a “homegrown champion” never wavered, as he accepted and won his first MMA fight in 2008, less than a year after his diagnosis, sending a powerful message to his students, and to the mix martial arts community as well, about the character and commitment you can expect from anyone that trains at Animals MMA.

Sam continues to forge and corner fighters in some of the best organizations throughout the Tri-State Area, such as, Evolution, Reality Fighting, Ring of Combat, WCKC, and Dead Serious.

Animals MMA holds belts in several weight classes, and currently sports an impressive 90 percent win record, with a number of fighters making their pro-debut this year.

Sam enjoys an incredible amount of support from wife, Amanda, and his two children, son Sam Jr., 16, and daughter, Savanna, 14, in his love of MMA. Sam Jr. and Savanna have been training since they each turned 4 years old, and continue to train and compete over a decade later.

Animals MMA looks forward to continuing being a positive part of the mixed martial arts community.

We hope you will join us on December 4, 2015. Mark your calendars now and purchase your tickets early so you can be sure to be a part of New Jersey martial arts history. Call 201-538-4843 or visit and get your ticket and join us in a historic night for New Jersey and for martial arts. It is certain to be a terrific night with family, friends, fun, and music.

Here is the complete list of award winners:

Felix Martinez - MMA Promoter

Dave Mastrogiovanni - MMA Promoter

Carl Mascarenhas - Amateur MMA Promoter

Mark Shopp - Pioneer Fighter

Dave Sholler - Public Relations

Larry Cureton - Kickboxing

Paul Querido - Trainer / Cutman

Brett Hlavacek - Muay Thai Fighter

Dave Weinberg - Media

Sam Marji - Amateur MMA Trainer

Tom DeBlass - Grappling

Gary Gudzak - Inspector

Brian Blue - Conditioning

Steve Rivera - Wrestling Coach

Derek Riddick - Kickboxing Promoter

Mike Massenzio - MMA Fighter

Rico Rodriguez - Pioneer MMA Fighter

Frank Savahna - Boxing

Lyman Good - MMA Fighter

Kevin Thompson - Kickboxing




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