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About Riviera MMA

Powered by Triad Martial Arts Academy

Coaches TabOur goal at Riviera MMA is to provide a safe, fun, and instructional MMA training facility for most ages (6 and up). Men and women, boys and girls are all welcome. You don’t have to be an MMA pro or have any MMA training at all! All you need is the desire to learn MMA and get in the best shape of your life.

Riviera MMA Programs

Riviera MMA offers a variety of programs to fit your needs. The Beginner/Intermediate Level Fitness program is for the beginning MMA enthusiast who wants to learn or for those who just generally like MMA and want to get in incredible shape. Advanced Level Training is for the intermediate to advanced MMA athletes who want to take their MMA skills to the next level. Kids MMA classes are available to children from ages of 6-13.

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MMA Training Classes


Beginner / Intermediate Level MMA


MMA Huntsville TrainingEver wanted to learn MMA but have little or no experience?  This is the class for you! The majority of the Riviera MMA/Triad Martial Arts Academy students will be in THIS class.  Consisting of a mixture of Vale Tudo*, Brazilian Jui Jitsu* and Karate Do*, this well-rounded class teaches both stand up and ground based techniques. This class will enhance your strength, endurance, flexibility and give you a knockout workout while teaching self-defense fundamentals.


Advanced Level MMA

Huntsville MMA Training

Do want to become a competitor, or train like one? Then THIS is the class for you!  This class will take your training to the next level!  Designed to impart the skills and instincts of an MMA fighter, this progression will culminate with advance techniques when combining Vale Tudo*, Brazilian Jui Jitsu* and Karate Do*.    Train like a pro in this phenomenal workout!


Women’s Self Defense

Women's Self Defense TrainingAs a woman, what would you do if you someone attacked you?  Most attackers will not walk up to you and quietly ask you to cooperate.  It is much more likely that they will come in swinging or grabbing. So, how would you defend your life?  This is the class where girls learn to fight back!   Encompassing the art of Vale Tudo, which is Portuguese for ‘anything goes,’ you will learn the techniques needed to properly defend yourself in real life situations.

Kids MMA

Our kids program is for ages 5 to 12 and is designed for your child to learn discipline, respect, mental strength, and manners.  It will enhance fine motor movement, gross motor movement, problem solving, physical fitness, agility, and mental clarity.  This class will teach your child the arts of Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Kickboxing, amd Boxing. You will notice a difference in your child’s attitude, discipline, and self control.  We encourage all of our students to focus on their education and their academics.  Respect on the mat and at home is mandatory.  To maintain a safe environment, we limit the level of techniques for the maturity level of this age group, and we get results through positive reinforcement and good technique.

Contact: Full – Level: Intermediate to Advanced -

Adult – Co-Ed

Huntsville MMA TrainingIntermediate Level Training is for the intermediate to advanced MMA athletes who want to take their MMA skill to the next level. If you are interested in fighting as a mixed martial artist or just training like an MMA fighter, this is the class for you. The class is set-up the same as Fight Club Fitness (30 minutes of MMA application), but the intensity is higher and there is more contact. You will, with the approval of our lead MMA coach, be able to fight if you want to. Be a part of the BEST Fight Team in the area in Riviera Fitness’s MMA Fight Team Training Class! Guys and girls both welcome.




Riviera MMA Training Powered by Triad

Daniel O'Brien Triad Martial ArtsDaniel O’Brien

Growing up Daniel and his brothers moved all over the East coast. Having lived in 5 different states, Daniel and his brothers were always the “new kids” and were often recognized as prey for bullying. Though they were always interested in martial arts they were never allowed by their father to take it for fear that it would lead to fighting at home. Their parents finally gave in and at the age of 16 his mother agreed to enroll them at Triad Martial Arts. Daniel was in awe at his instructor Johnny Lee Smith at first sight. As a boy Daniel grew up in New York watching Johnny on the Fox network showcasing his skills as the character Tiger Claw on WMAC Masters.

Daniel O’Brien began his martial arts training during the spring of 2004 at Triad Martial arts. Under the tutelage of Johnny Lee Smith, Daniel began winning vast amounts of state karate competitions for sparring and nationwide Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions. After years of dedication and hard work Daniel became the first and only person from Alabama to win a gold medal at the Pan American Jiu-jitsu championship. Through Johnny, Daniel has become an undefeated professional mixed martial artist and the first person from Triad Martial arts to receive back belts in both Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Daniel has been training for nearly a decade under Johnny and has over half a decade of teaching experience working with both children and adults. Daniel trains and teaches at Triad Martial Arts 50 hours a week and competes regularly in tournaments and Mixed Martial Arts events. Daniel’s goal is to instill the teachings of his instructor, Johnny Lee Smith, onto those who would not abuse/misuse his teachings and to pass on the discipline and positive moral values which Daniel believes his instructor bestowed upon him.

Accomplishments: - Undefeated Professional Mixed Martial Artist - Black Belt in Karate - Black Belt in Jiu-jitsu - Pan American Gold Medalist - 9x NAGA gold medalist - Open Weight NAGA Expert Division Gold Medalist - Pan American Black Belt No Gi Silver Medalist - Gold Medalist in Numerous Karate State Competitions - 6 yrs Teaching Experience


John O'BrienJohn O’Brien

Growing up, John O’Brien and his two brothers, Daniel and Josh, were obsessed with martial arts and everything related to fighting. Due to the high cost and fear that the brothers would just use their training against each other, they did not begin training until much later in their lives.

In May of 2004, after much pleading and having part time jobs that could help pay for the classes, the O’Brien brothers began training at Triad Martial Arts Academy in Cullman, Alabama. Their childhood obsession with martial arts carried over into their training and they progressed very quickly in knowledge and rank.

In July of 2005, John began teaching the adult karate class out of necessity, having just over a year of experience. This motivated John to progress faster and train harder so that he would be a competent instructor. Later, John would go on to teach a few classes at the Triad Martial Arts location in Madison, which would lead to developing a long relationship with the school.

John has gone on to compete in Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments, the Alabama Golden Gloves, as well as local Mixed Martial Arts competitions. John O’Brien teaches Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Vale Tudo in both the Cullman and Madison, Alabama locations and continues to train to better himself and his students, while still being able to compete at the highest levels in karate, jiu-jitsu, and mixed martial arts.

Matt WardMatt Ward

Seven years ago Matt Ward decided to pursue mixed martial arts as a way to get into shape.  He was committed.  He began to train for competition.  And compete he did.  Matt has won the advanced divisions of NAGA six times.  He has competed multiple times at the Pan American Games and World Championships.

Though Matt got into martial arts just as a way to stay in shape and compete his pursuit quickly changed from just wanting to be the best to becoming the best he could be.  In other words, he stopped focusing on the next fight or the next competition.  Mixed martial arts became a life journey.  This gives Matt the ability to relate with others on many levels.  If you want to compete he brings real world experience to the table.  Is MMA a way to get into shape and improve your overall fitness?  Matt understands that desire and he can help you start your own life journey.  MMA training will give you confidence.  Matt can teach you effective self-defense techniques.

Matt Ward has a 3-0 AMMY MMA record and a 1-0 Pro record.  He is still currently competing and training everyday to become the best he can be.  He holds a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Johnny Lee Smith.  His future goals include receiving his black belt, continue competing in BJJ and MMA and growing Triad at Riviera to be the best school in the state.


Daniel Whisenant

Daniel Whisenant

Daniel Whisenant is the instructor for these classes. Daniel has trained extensively in martial arts for over 10 years. He holds a black belt in Triad Martial Arts Karate-Do and Kobudo, and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is qualified as a SSGT defensive tactics instructor for law enforcement (a program mandated through all of Alabama, and taught widely through 8 other states) and is a certified instructor in Equalizer Women’s Self Defense.

Daniel is the owner and lead instructor for Triad Martial Arts in both Madison and Huntsville Alabama.  He is also a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, where he has trained combat troops in martial arts in Afghanistan, and holds the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program black belt.


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Huntsville Location

2211 University Drive Northwest Huntsville, AL 35816‎

Athens Location

611 U.S. Hwy 72 Athens, AL 35611