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  • | 10:00 a.m. January 9, 2015
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Executive: Bobby Harris, chief executive officer and founder of Riverview-based Blue Grace Logistics, a transportation logistics company. The company, with more than 150 employees, boasted $104.8 million in revenue in 2013, up 171% from $38.6 million in 2010, according to its ranking on the 2014 Inc. 5000.

Diversion: Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a high-energy sport pitting two competitors in an octagon. It allows for striking and grappling techniques from a variety of combat sports and martial arts. Harris became active with MMA a few years ago, concentrating on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is focused on putting people in submission holds. Harris liked how disciplined the sport was. “You don't get to quit when you want to,” he says. “When you have someone choking you, it's different.”

Early morning: Harris says he prefers to workout early in the morning, when he has the most discipline and energy to get the job done. His routine at a gym typically involves 20 minutes of cardio on an elliptical or stair-climber, followed by 45 minutes to an hourlong circuit routine of weights, focusing on quantity of reps rather than heavier weights. He also works out at Gracie Tampa, an MMA training academy. Harris is trained by the owner Rob Kahn, a second-degree black belt trained by three-time UFC champion Royce Gracie. “It's the No. 1 spot in Central Florida,” Harris says, with 10 pro fighters in the UFC.

Gracie Tampa: It costs $150 a month to sign up for Gracie Tampa, which includes training and instruction. When Harris is in town, he visits the gym at least four or five times a week. When Harris visits the academy, he has a one-hour class with Kahn, and then sticks around for another one to three hours for open mat or sparring.

Dominating divisions: Last July, Harris won the heavyweight division in the Copa America tournament. The heavyweight division includes individuals over 215 pounds. “I'd like to lose 10 pounds so I'm not fighting these monsters,” he says. Harris's goal is to compete in an amateur fight.

Active mind: “I need to be stimulated and do something I enjoy. It keeps my mind going,” Harris says. The sport helps him achieve a better mental balance, he adds, and he can tell the difference at the office when he's had several days at the gym.

Travel workouts: Harris, who travels about one week a month, doesn't miss a beat when he's on the road. “I don't care what I did the night before,” he says. “I make sure I bring the right clothes and I bring them back dirty.”

Fighting fan: Harris's father was a boxing buff, so Harris has always been a boxing fan. A few years ago, he was looking to get into boxing when he met Kahn, so he decided to give MMA a try. Harris, 6 feet, 4 inches and 225 pounds, couldn't believe that guys smaller or older than him could submit him. “It's amazing that this older guy can make me scream 'uncle' every time,” he says. “That's what intrigued me. It's almost like magic to me.”

Not scared: MMA doesn't scare Harris, despite the nature of the sport. “You can get your arm broke or get choked out, but it's no different than walking in the street with a bare-knuckle fight,” he says. “Some people might have trepidations, but I'm missing that gene.”

 

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