Mixed Martial Arts Star Eyes Kona Crown
Savannah "Grits" Gritson, a former multisport phenom, announced her intention to rekindle her endurance roots after being approached by SOAS Racing.
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Current undefeated Mixed Martial Arts fighter Savannah “Grits” Gritson (Gritsracer.com) is returning to triathlon. Gritson, a former multisport phenom, announced her intention to rekindle her endurance roots after being approached by SOAS Racing (Soasracing.com), and signing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with the women’s specific line of endurance clothing.
See the announcement from SOAS below:
SOAS doesn’t currently produce mixed martial arts clothing, but co-founders Stephanie Swanson and Kebby Holden explained that SOAS is a lifestyle brand with an edge. Like Gritson, SOAS is all about results. “While we insist that our clothes look great, we’re equally concerned about performance. As such, sponsorship with a triathlete/MMA fighter seemed like a perfect choice.”
Grits, who is 6-0 as a MMA fighter, started her athletic life as a triathlete in Tifton, a small town in South Georgia. She still holds several junior records and had wins at the Tobacco Sprint Classic and the prestigious IronPeanut, a full distance event in Macon, Ga.
Grits, which she claims stands for “Girl Raised in the South,” started training in martial arts while serving a suspension that was handed down by the USA Triathlon (USAT), the sports US governing body, in 2007. An altercation in the transition area with a man who was drafting too closely during the bike led to the decision.
“Well, obviously, I regret receiving the suspension” says Gritson. “But I don’t regret choking him unconscious. After all, he was sucking my wheel harder than my granny sucks corn out of her teeth.”
Looking for a way to maintain her fitness and use her physicality after her suspension, she briefly considered bowling. But the headlock that caused her triathlon suspension came so naturally to her, that Gritson decided to seek out MMA. It was a short road to success. She quickly dominated her class and is, so far, undefeated.
Gritson, who has always augmented her fight training with cycling and running, recently returned to triathlon and showed that she has lost none of her speed.
While in Thailand for Muay Thai training, she competed in the Arm Bar Classic, a half-iron distance event, and won by a wide margin. The leg strength accumulated after years of MMA training was apparent as Gritson posted blazing bike and run splits. Her 1hr. 48min. bike on the hilly and humid 56 mile course, combined with an astonishing 1:05 half marathon, more than made up for a sub-par swim. Her results were made even more amazing after Gritson disclosed that her wheels and the frame of her bike were made entirely of bamboo.
Gritson attributes a large portion of her athletic success to a diet rich in, yes, grits. The unprocessed version known as hominy contains a complex set of amino acids that provide both mental and physiological benefits including enhanced uptake, transport or delivery of oxygen to the larger muscle groups.
Her innovative stance on grits has led to interest in the grain for sport application. Gritson is working with an undisclosed company to create a cheese-grits flavored gel known as “speed grits.”
“We are thrilled to have Sharon onboard with us.” says SOAS’s Holden. “She embodies one of our key marketing positions which is that SOAS isn’t just a pretty face. We are also tough.”
Gritson is currently training under legendary Multisports.com coach Paul Huddle, and is widely expected to be granted a wild-card entry into the Hawaii Ironman in Kona this year where she would be a dark horse pre-race favorite.
“I didn’t think we’d see another Chrissie Wellington caliber athlete again so soon. But this girl is incredible. I haven’t seen sheer genetic gifts like this since Paula. She’s already killing it and she has a ton of room to still improve,” gushes Huddle. “Her pain threshold is through the roof. Probably due to fighting in the octagon.”