MORE than three decades of martial artistry by York’s Tony Dias has gained prize recognition.

The man, who last month seized his third world title in the last four years, was admitted to the Martial Arts Illustrated magazine Hall of Fame. The citation commemorated the “True Grit” of the new inductee.

Dias, also a 15-time British kick-boxing champion, said he was absolutely “humbled” by induction to a Hall of Fame which includes many of his heroes of modern mixed martial arts.

Clutching his coveted award, which was presented amid a ceremony attended by more than 300 of his peers, Dias said: “I was really surprised to be put up for the award and then to receive it with a standing ovation from all these guys who are also in the Hall of Fame was very humbling.

“To be in the same room as a lot of them was good enough, but to now be in the same Hall of Fame company was brilliant.”

Dias, who runs the United Masters Academy gym in York’s Layerthorpe with joint owner Gaz Watkinson, said he wanted to thank all his former coaches and contemporaries as well as his wife Victoria and family, who have given him the biggest support of his martial arts life.