When Zane Frazier saw the Bruce Lee movie “The Chinese Connection” in 1972 as a child in Los Angeles, he fell in love with martial arts.
Since then, he has made his mark on the sport as a two-time international karate champion, a World Kickboxing Federation U.S. heavyweight champion and one of eight participants in the first UFC competition.
Now, the Ahwatukee resident has partnered with Steve Murbach to open a Title Boxing Club franchise in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood.
“We want Title Boxing to be the best hour of your day, by helping you with your opportunity to aspire to what you want to become,” Frazier said.
Frazier’s life has been eventful. Born in 1966, he began martial arts training in 1972 and it continued through his time at University of Idaho, where he also played basketball. He trained in tai kenpo, a hybrid of karate, boxing, karate and wrestling.
“We were doing MMA training then, before MMA training was fashionable,” Frazier said.
Following school, Frazier veered away from martial arts, instead working as a bodyguard for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson and Olivia Newton-John.
He transitioned later to private security for nightclubs in Compton. He worked for Ice-T after a fight gave Frazier the chance to showcase his defense skills.
Despite these opportunities and experiences, Frazier’s heart was still in MMA. Martial artist and fitness mogul Billy Bush encouraged him to open his own gym in 1981.
“We had this idea that we wanted to make the American public respect martial arts more than they had,” he said. “I left the bodyguard scene and I stayed with this particular format.”
While owning the gym, Frazier became a UFC pioneer. He earned a spot in UFC 1 in 1993 after an incident with Frank Dux. The two were at odds after Dux invited Frazier to teach at his studio. Frazier backed out and Dux refused to pay him.
Frazier opened a studio nearby and some of Dux’s students followed. The feud culminated in a fight that the LAPD had to break up. UFC officials, who were already interested in Frazier, followed up with him after the fight, letting him know that he had secured a spot in the tournament.
Frazier has taught in 12 gyms and accumulated 36 years of training experience. He asks his students to go beyond their comfort zone, and he emphasizes mental, physical and spiritual toughness.
“The difference between being good and being great is, simply, one word: sacrifice,” he said. “A lot of people work hard, but can you push yourself more than the next person?”
Citing his mantra “lose yourself,” Frazier wants his students to get lost in training and come out on the other end a changed person. He is committed to excellence.
“Commitment to excellence means we want you to inspire, to challenge and to motivate,” he said. “If you want to become great, we want to help you become that.”
Frazier hopes his lessons will carry beyond the gym, though.
“I teach life and success skills inside the glove and outside the glove,” Frazier said.
He advocates them to do the right thing – even when it’s inconvenient.
“The real fight is not in here,” he said about his gym. “The real fight is out there.”
Information: 480-712-3490, titleboxingclub.com/arcadia-az.