An MMA pro, seasoned boxer and fitness coach — all locals — combined forces last year to form the Fusion X-cel Performance gym and training center.
Ocoee’s Fusion X-cel Performance is the spot where UFC fighters Mike Perry and Alex Nicholson train.
It’s the spot where boxing, fitness and mixed martial arts combine.
And, it’s all run by three local residents: Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and MMA pro Julien Williams, fitness coach Edwin Carmichael and seasoned boxer James Taylor.
The three opened the training center together last summer in West Oaks Mall, after coming from other gyms. The name Fusion X-cel is a reflection of their joining forces, each with a different specialty that fuses into one for a well-rounded workout and training circuit.
Williams first began his MMA training as a side hustle in college. The Bellator and M1 global veteran trained under Paul Rodriguez and has a 9-1 professional record. Williams continues to fight occasionally — however, he loves training others in MMA.
“I came from a track-and-field background, so I still apply a lot of those concepts to our training and got into the martial arts through friends in track and field,” he said.
When he started training others, Williams said he also became a better fighter, because he was focusing on the technical aspects of it. And although he loses out on time he could spend training himself, he loves seeing his clients improve.
Carmichael is a certified personal/fitness trainer, among multiple additional certifications. When he moved to Orlando nearly a decade ago, he started with LA Fitness, doing boot camps. Clients began asking him to do classes outside the gym, and his own clientele continued to grow.
When he met Williams and Taylor, the three were each working independently in their specialties, doing freelance training on their own or out of rented gym spaces. After deciding to join forces, and after much time spent looking for a proper spot for their gym, they settled on the current West Oaks location.
“As a kid growing up, I did taekwondo, karate and boxing,” Carmichael said. “That was the thing to do in the neighborhood, and I never took it seriously but learned the techniques and skills, so I used to use a lot of those skills in my training. To see how we mesh together teaching classes is remarkable, because you take one person from this level and take them to a whole other level. … It’s a whole different type of intensity a person experiences with the meshing of the MMA, boxing and fitness together.”
“It feels good because you see the hard work they put in and you see your work through them, the techniques." - Julien Williams
Williams combines the striking arts — boxing, taekwondo and more — with the grappling of jiu-jitsu and wrestling during classes. Other classes combine kickboxing and fitness. It all creates a nonstop, high-energy workout
“It feels good because you see the hard work they put in and you see your work through them, the techniques,” Williams said. “You know everyone has their own issues outside of life, so you see them, when all this stuff is going on, they still go in there and compete.”
Carmichael added that the three partners aim to create a culture based on friendship, family, loyalty and trust. Anyone is welcome, whether they come to get in shape or improve their boxing or fighting skills.
“We’ll have pro athletes in here training on one side, and then regular moms who just want to get in shape on the other side,” Carmichael said.
The three aim to continue providing top-notch training in MMA, boxing and fitness while expanding their clientele and the Fusion X-cel brand.
“We love to help people and love to see people change their lifestyle, whether it be eating habits or exercising,” Carmichael said. “We try to make it a lifestyle where people use training to make them perform better in life, period.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].