Lionheart Gym removes Ryan Gruhn's CPAMMA program on New Years' Eve
NOTE: This may belong in the business section, I put it in YMAS so more people could read it. If a moderator believes it should be moved, feel free.
On Dec. 31, 2009, all members of the Central PA Mixed Martial Arts program (CPAMMA), which is based in Lionheart Gym in State College, PA, received the following email:
This move has been described as "sneaky," "underhanded," and "despicable" by members of the CPAMMA program. A fuller listing of comments from the CPAMMA community is available here and here.
Effective immediately, LionHeart Fitness is pleased to announce our professional association with Titan Fitness, who will, immediately, provide all MMA related programs and instruction. The addition of Titan Fitness, and its vastly experienced instructors, guarantees an even higher quality of instruction and an enhanced learning process for our MMA participants. Paul Zelinka and Bruce Lombard were, in fact, instructors to Ryan Gruhn before CPMMA evolved.
Information about Titan Fitness and its many programs and instructors can be found at www.titanfitness.com
or by telephone at 814.235.1015.
Also, your membership dues may, quite possibly, become less expensive due to the economies that can be experienced by the association of LionHeart and Titan Fitness. This move was made to increase the value of your membership to Lionheart and to improve your experience, be it in MMA or general fitness. Any questions can be directed to Karl G Zimmerman.
All presently scheduled MMA classes will proceed as scheduled without change or interruption with the exception of the instructors and the instructors' assistants.
Have a Happy New Year and we look forward to continuing to meet your fitness and MMA needs.
Karl G Zimmerman
This move is more than just "business as usual" for several reasons.
First, a minor concern as it applies to the business side of the decision, Lionheart/North Club management has been rude and disrespectful to CPAMMA head instructor Ryan Gruhn and CPAMMA students in making this move.
1. Neither Titan Fitness' Paul or Bruce ever had an instructor relationship to Ryan Gruhn.
2. In light of #1, Mr. Zimmerman insinuating that this move will allow for higher-quality instruction at a lower price is not only disrespectful, but very nearly fraudulent, since his claim of higher or equal quality is based on these two new instructors having been Ryan Gruhn's former instructors.
3. After being contacted by a CPAMMA member complaining of the move, and being informed that the particular customer was, in part, basing his future career after college graduation in State College in order to train at CPAMMA, Lionheart management responded as such:
More serious concerns deal with the specifics of Lionheart/North Club management removing the CPAMMA program.
I look forward to further correspondence from you, (NAME REMOVED). We are determined to please as many folks as possible. Best of luck with your career at McDonald's
1. The management gave neither Mr. Gruhn nor his students ANY advance notice of this move. In fact, Mr. Gruhn learned of his firing in the same manner his students did: the mass e-mail informing CPAMMA students of the change. This is especially wrong, given that Mr. Gruhn depends on martial arts teaching (at CPAMMA) for his primary source of income. Though this move clearly took planning to execute, the gym management chose to inform the person being fired and their own customers at the very moment they made this switch.
2. The gym made this move on December 31, 2009. Firstly, this is on the eve of a major holiday, meaning the gym has restricted hours (12-4 pm). Secondly, being in a college town on semester break until Jan. 11th, most of the gym's (and CPAMMA's) customers are out of town, and home with their families. Thirdly, Lionheart does not allow membership cancellations over the phone, and requires 31-day notice for cancellation to take effect. Fourthly, payments are billed to customers on the first of each month. These factors together imply a plan to create maximum difficulty in CPAMMA students canceling their Lionheart memberships, forcing into them at least 1 month of membership in a program they did not sign up for.
It's my opinion that this move was premeditated for some period of time, and timed for effect with regard to membership cancellation. I'm extremely disappointed in Lionheart's decision to go to a lower quality of instruction, and to, without warning, fire a top-notch martial artist and instructor who depends on his teaching for income. I'd like to hear the opinions of others.