Archive for Shoreline Community College

Verbal Sparring: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (AMC Pankration)

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by jaytan716

If you do a YouTube search for Demetrius Johnson, you’ll see footage of him wrestling Alan Calahan at the USA Wrestling National Junior Duals.  You’ll also find a highlight reel from his college basketball days with the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Mastodons.  And you’ll find his “I’ve Got My Strength Back” sermon, based on the story of Samson and Delilah.

None of these are the Genesis FIGHTS / AX Fighting / Rumble on the Ridge bantamweight MMA champion Demetrious Johnson.  With an ‘o.’

Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson, with his girlfriend, Destiny, after another victory.

Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson, with his girlfriend, Destiny, after another victory.

Known to his friends simply as “DJ,” Johnson is another young star on the rise from the Pacific Northwest.  As the reigning 135 lb. king of three different fight promotions, Johnson has a legitimate claim to be the toughest bantamweight fighter in the Pacific Northwest.

In January, Johnson broke his hand in a match where he claimed his Rumble on the Ridge 135 lb. MMA title.  At the time of the first part of this interview, he was waiting for medical clearance to begin sparring.  He has since been cleared to train and is preparing for a match at Genesis FIGHTS’ next event, “Rise of Kings, Emperors of MMA,” which takes place on June 27th at the Shoreline Community College.

In a two-part phone interview, Johnson offered insight and reflection on his passion for running, how it translates to fighting, and of course how he deals with being “the smallest guy on the scene.”

JT:  Tell us a little bit about your high school wrestling background.  Have you been wrestling all your life?

DJ:  No, I started wrestling in eighth grade and I did very well in that season.  I only lost one match the whole season, and then I took first in districts, which is the highest level you could get in middle school.  After that I went to high school and my freshman year, I got tore up.  Just mop the mat with me.  Sitting there with a black eye, bloody lip. And it was because I weighed 109 lbs. and I was wrestling 118.  I didn’t want to wrestle JV [Junior Varsity] 112, because I couldn’t beat the 112-pounder, but I could beat the 118-pounder.  So I wrestled my whole high school freshman year at 118, and got beat up, didn’t go nowhere.  My sophomore year, I started peaking a little bit. . . I took fifth [place] in state.  And then my junior year, I dominated and I took second in state.  And my senior year, I was supposed to take the whole state tournament and everything.  Went undefeated throughout the whole tournament season, and then I lost in the third round, to the semi-finals, to get to the finals, to a kid from Sedro-Woolley.  He pinned me.

JT:  That must have been a hard pill to swallow.

DJ:  No, I wasn’t that – I think we were both good.  I think I was better than him, but the whole season, I never fought off my back.  I’d never been taken down the whole entire season of wrestling, and I’m about to go against a freshman that has a very decent record, that’s wrestled all throughout the state and all this other stuff.  And then when I went against him, he took me down. . . And once he got me there, it was like “oh my God, I’ve never been here before.  How do I fight out of it?” . . . Because I had no idea how to fight from there.  It basically broke me, mentally.

I got up and approached my coach and he was like “well, oh well!”

And that’s just like MMA.  If you don’t train your ground game, when you fall to the ground with the guy, the first thing in your mind is “oh shit, I’m on the ground.  What do I do?” . . . And I told myself from then on there, if there’s anything I can do [to keep from] losing, I will do everything in my power not to lose. . . Because I’m not going to repeat that.  I’ve already had my loss, in my career, and as an amateur, I want to go through this circuit as 14-0.

JT:  After wrestling your senior year, you ended up at Vision Quest.  Were you just looking for a workout or how did that pique your interest?

DJ:  Well, I got into MMA right after high school. . . I never knew about MMA until right after the first “Ultimate Fighter” came on. . . I saw how they were training hard.  I said “damn, they’re kicking the bag, [they’ve got] tough bodies.  I think I’m gonna try it.”

So I walked into a gym, Vision Quest, which I no longer go to . . . I’ve always been working out at Vision Quest, ever since they opened. . . since my junior year.  My wrestling coach thought it would be good for me, because there’s a lot more wrestlers that go there.. . . And I just started punching the bag, kicking it.  And (former IFL / UFC fighter) Reese Andy looked at me, he said “hey, can you kick?”  I was like “yeah.”  He said “can you punch?”  I started punching.  He goes “you wanna do MMA?”  I was like “I’ll learn.”  And he set me up with AMC when the classes were at Vision Quest.  And I’ve been with AMC since then.

JT:  Was it the glitz and glamour that got you [interested], or did you know you were looking for release for your sense of competition after wrestling?

DJ:  I’d say competition.  I wanted to keep on competing.  I didn’t want to stop doing a sport and being fat and lazy on the couch.  And go to my 10-year high school reunion and be like “hey guys, I gained 80 pounds, and I’m fat.”

JT:  Was college in the decks for you, or were you going to work a scholarship for wrestling?

DJ:  I did have a couple of scholarship offers for wrestling, but I didn’t want to leave my family behind and go off and do my own thing. . . If I wanted to go to college and wrestle, I would have to go out of state.  One college that I went to was Southern Oregon Community College, but they didn’t have dorm rooms, so I’d have to rent an apartment out there and work out there and I didn’t want to do that.

So I went to Pierce College and I was working a job there too and working out part-time.  Just lifting, trying to get bigger, since I didn’t have to stay at 118 pounds in high school.  I didn’t take any scholarship offers.  I don’t regret or anything, because I’m in a better place now [with fighting than wrestling].

JT:  If I remember correctly, you spend part of your time at AMC South and part of your time at Kirkland, right?

DJ:  Yeah, usually . . . what people don’t understand – there’s AMC Kirkland and there’s AMC South, which is AMC Pacific.  When I train, basically, my instructor, my teacher, was Steve Skidds and Luke Pitman.  And basically Drew [Brokenshire], Taurean [Washington], Brian [Roberge], us little core guys, we basically taught ourselves – not to fight, but that’s what training was like.

Usually, when I go up there on Saturdays, I try to get beat up a lot.  From Caros [Fodor], Trevor, Daniel [Eng], Matt [Hume] – basically, the big dogs, up there.  Because that’s the best thing you can do.  I think you learn from getting beat up. . . I was up there a few weeks ago and I was getting my hard sparring round in.  Me and Caros were just banging away.  Here I am, 140 lbs., and he’s a 180-pounder.  And we’re just going at it.  And after the fight was done, I asked Matt “tell me what I did wrong.”  And he just told me everything that I did wrong.  And I understood him.  That’s why I like going up there on Saturdays, up in Kirkland.  So I get beat up, basically.

'DJ' and Drew Brokenshire, in the midst of high-impact lightsaber training.  Note the raised platform for high-altitude conditioning.

'DJ' and Drew Brokenshire, in the midst of high-impact lightsaber training. Note the raised platform for high-altitude conditioning.

JT:  I talked with Drew and he said the same thing.  That you guys drill with each other and beat each other up as the team down south, and then go on Saturdays and test your skills [in Kirkland].

DJ:  Yeah, and it’s funny, because you’ll see me and Drew – we’re main training partners.  I like him to hold mitts for me, because he holds them just perfect, the way I like it.  And same as for him for me.  When we fight, we fight a little bit similar; we have the same pressure, but he’s more stand-up, and he’s developing his ground game.  But me, I like to pressure in fights.  I used to be slick fighter, like “I’ll fight you when I want to fight you.”  So we’re both trying to get adaptable to our styles.

JT:  Am I right in remembering, you guys have a 10-pound difference?

DJ:  Yeah, there’s a 10-pound difference, but when he’s not cutting weight, there’s a 30-pound difference.  If I walk around, on a good day, at 144-145.

JT:  So you keep it down and he does the whole Ricky Fatton [Hatton] thing.

DJ:  You could say that, but [laughs] he walks around like 167, which is really good, and I walk around 140.  And I’ve cut down to 125.  I’ve fought twice at 125, but Matt wants me at 135, just to get used to the weight class up there.

JT:  Tell me your thoughts about being a part of AMC and training under Matt.

DJ:  It’s awesome.  It doesn’t get better than this.  One thing that I love about AMC is that there’s always somebody that can beat you up.  And what I mean by that is an instructor – I really don’t get a chance to spar Matt, Trevor, or Daniel, or Brad [Kurtson] as much as I wish I could, but I know that if I go up there and I’m like “shit, I want to spar,” if they want to, I know they’ll just mop me up.  Even though I mop all my opponents up.

JT:  There’s always somebody higher on the totem pole, right?

DJ:  Yeah, there’s always someone higher on the scale.  Granted, they’re not my same weight, but I’ve been dealing with that my whole life and that’s just what [propels] me.  Five-four, 145 pounds.  There’s just not a lot of guys around here that weigh that much and are at my skill level.

JT:  How long have you been training at AMC?

DJ:  I’d say I’ve been training MMA, like, four years now.

JT:  And coupled with wrestling training, which certainly is no joke either. . .

DJ:  Oh now, so then you’re going back to wrestling.  So you got four years of MMA.  I started [wrestling] when I was in eighth grade – so about nine years total.

JT:  So that said, I would think by now you’ve developed your own kind of training philosophy or style.  What’s your outlook on training?  How do you approach it?

DJ:  Okay, so, it’s like, I think you train hard and the fight’s easy.  You train like a champion, you fight like a champion.  You train like shit, you fight like shit.  With us being down at AMC Pacific, where it’s just us little core guys, we have to learn to train ourselves hard, because we all don’t live by each other.  Like I’m in University Place, Drew lives in Piala, Taurean lives in Covington.  So does Brian.  And Steve – he’s an Alaska Airlines pilot.  So when we train, we’re not always together.

I don’t need a coach behind me, yelling at me, like “run your sprints.  Do this, do that.”  That actually irritates me a little bit.  I went to college and I could have finished school and got my higher education and went off and done something else, but I decided that I wanted to fight.  And I know what fighting comes with.  And it’s a job to be in top shape when you fight . . . You don’t need to babysit me.  But sometimes I feel that guys are in a world where they need babysistters.  Even pro guys.  If you don’t tell them what to do, they’re just going to sit at home like “oh, I’ll wait until the next time I’m fighting and not do whatever I gotta do.”

JT:  You’re really a self-started and you have to kind of make your own training and regiment, really.

DJ:  As a regimen, Steve Skidds tells me what my lifting should be and what I should be eating and stuff, but as for somebody calling me, waking me up out of bed, and telling me to go to the gym, I don’t need it, and that’s how it’s been my whole life, ever since I was in elementary running.

JT:  What pro fighters has Matt brought in that you’ve trained with?

DJ:  I’ve trained with Rich [Franklin] and Chris Leben.  I got to wrestle with Jens Pulver.

Rich was pretty fun.  He’s a lot heavier.  I was trying to keep up with my pace and try to choke him out.  When I trained with Chris Leben, I didn’t roll with him, but doing stand-up with him, it was a little bit difficult with him, because it was when I was first starting, so I really didn’t understand the southpaw position, but. But he’s beef.  He’s huge.

JT:  Was it difficult to get over the size difference there?

DJ:  No, I’ve been dealing with that my whole life.

JT:  Tell me about that part, always being the smaller guy.  Did you deal with bullying as a kid?

DJ:  When I was growing up, I didn’t really get bullied, but I was an easy target.  So everybody makes fun of me.  When I was in elementary, it wasn’t as bad.  Then when I got to middle school, I had a temper and I was one of those bad kids who stayed out late at night and did bad things.  Just to prove that – you make fun of me at all, ‘cuz I’ll beat you up.  Then, when I got into eighth grade, when I started learning, when I started maturing, nobody messed with me.  When I got physical, in ninth grade, the seniors, nobody messed with me.  They make fun of me, because I was short and I had big ears.  Like a mouse.  But nobody really picked on me at all.  Just being the smaller guy in the room, when I got ahold of them, I could wrestle them and they’re like “oh, you’re a small guy, but you’re not weak like a small person.”

JT:  When did you get blessed with the Mighty Mouse nickname?

DJ:  [Laughs] That came, probably, during when I had been training with Skidds and those guys. . . I’m the smallest guy at my gym right now, besides Scott McDonald, who is one of the new guys.  So I’ll roll with Brian, Taurean, Skidds, Drew, and I’ll give them fits.  . . . And so Skidds gave me the nickname “Mighty Mouse” because I’m small, but I always bring the fight.  I’m always gonna be there, wherever you’re gonna be at.  I’m not just gonna keep it on my feet, because I’m better than you, but I’ll beat you to the ground and submit you even though that’s your aim.  And so he nicknamed me “Mighty Mouse.”  And the way my ears are too, and my structure.

JT:  I was gonna say, it really fits in there.  The whole thing about good things coming in small packages, right?

DJ:  Yeah [laughs].

JT:  For you, what’s the toughest thing about fighting?

     Casualty of War - Johnson broke his hand while en route to winning his third 135 lb. MMA championship.

Casualty of War - Johnson broke his hand while en route to winning his third 135 lb. MMA championship.

DJ:  Honestly, I love training hard, I love running, I love lifting hard.  I’d say the toughest thing about fighting is the sparring hard. . . Because when you spar, you get hurt, you get bruises, and you can potentially tear something.  Or anything.  But people believe that you need to spar hard to get in good shape.  And I totally disagree with that, because yes, people say that I’m a freak when it comes to cardio, but I can tell you that I don’t spar hard when I get ready for a fight, because you get hurt that way.

When I jump in the ring and I have to fight, I know that I gotta be in perfect condition, and I gotta make sure I train my body to be ready for that aggravating throwing and to work hard and not [get] tired when I throw hard.  And some people don’t train their minds to do that. . . My training is very strict.  I know what I need to do to get ready for a fight, and it’s the same thing what I did for wrestling. . . I [want] to make sure my whole body’s recovered, and make sure, when I fight, I’m at 110%.  Not with all the aches and bruises.  Because you don’t want to walk into a fight with aches and bruises.

Now, when I train, I take care of my body.  I pop my fish oil and my multivitamin.  I make sure I wrap my hands.   I wear kneepads.  I wear shinpads.  Because if I get hurt in practice, let’s say I break my hand in practice. . . That’s a huge setback, because now I gotta have surgery.  There’s another 40 G’s down the drain, because of surgery.  And now that’s the main rule.  When me and Drew spar now, we spar hard, but we spar with our heads.  We don’t try to hurt each other and break our legs.

This body has to last me until I’m 39 or 38, because this is my career.  I stopped going to school, and if I don’t make it like this, it’s gonna be McDonald’s or Jack-in-the-Box, and I don’t want to go to any one of those.

JT:  Well, they also got Dick’s Burgers up there on Broadway too.

DJ:  [Laughs] Dick’s Burger are not a go either.

JT:  I guess that kinda answers my next question.  If you had to make a living outside of fighting, what would it be?

DJ:  If I was to do something, it [would] be in the athletic department.  That would probably have to be it.  Honestly, I would like to be a high school coach, probably wrestling or cross country.

JT:  Is running or fighting more your passion?  Do you still have that same passion for running?

DJ:  Oh no, it really hasn’t taken away from running, because I use most of my running for my training for MMA . . . I used to run half-marathons and street races and stuff. . . Fighting – I look at it as my hobby and it’s my job.  So I take it very seriously.

I ran ever since I was little, and in second grade, I ran [in a group] called track club.  Nobody coached you how to do it; nobody [said] you shouldn’t do it.  You basically go out on the track and you run the whole recess.  So while people were on the swings swinging or playing the monkey bars, I was running laps.  Constantly.  Every recess, for five years.  Every school year.  At the end of the year, the goal [was] to get 100 miles.  At each 25-mile mark, you get something.  25 miles you get something, 50 miles you get something, 75 miles, I remember you get a big pizza party, and 100 miles, you get a medal.  My last year, I had like 117 miles at the end of the year.  So I beat my old personal record. . . And that became a passion for me when I got out of high school.

My mindset in running, it kinda rolls over to MMA for where I go in a long run or I’m running sprints for MMA training.  My technique comes back in running, and it’s like “oh man, I’m so glad that I love running, or this would be a pain in my ass.”

JT:  As a fan of MMA, who are some of your favorite fighters, or some of the best matches you’ve seen?

DJ:  My favorite fighter, hands down, would be Thiago “Pitbull” Alves.  I think his last fight with Josh Koscheck was really good.  How he didn’t get taken down at all, and he controlled the center of the ring. He had a pretty good game plan.  Rampage, he’s another one of my favorite fighters, just because of his attitude.  He keeps it real when he’s fighting. . . He has his fun.  He enjoys his life.  George St-Pierre, he’s one of my favorites too.  He’s more of a game-planner, but at that level, the UFC competition, you have to have a game plan.  You just can’t go in there and try to fight your way like that.

JT:  Who do you like in St-Pierre vs. Alves?  You looking forward to that fight?

DJ:  If I had to put down $100, I’m gonna pick Alves.  And the reason why is because Thiago Alves is a bigger guy and I think he’s gonna come up with a good game plan against Georges St-Pierre.  Because Georges St-Pierre does have a weak chin.  It’s been exposed.  Thiago Alves has real good power in both hands and his knees and in his kicks.

JT:  Run me through your fight career, as far as matches goes. I believe your AMC site said you were 8-0 in MMA and 4-0 in Muay Thai?  When was your first match?

DJ:  It would have to be Brawl at the Mall III, so that was back in 2006. . .

Yeah, I remember how they went.  The first match was mixed martial arts against Oren Ulrich.  After that I did a kickboxing fight against Mike Richardson.  And the reason I did that was because Matt was like “okay, we know you can wrestle, but we gotta work on your stand-up.”  I did that one.  And then my third fight – it was actually a forfeit, so I don’t count that.  It was against Michael Aries, and I remember him showing up nine pounds overweight.  I said I’d still fight him, but he didn’t want to fight.  I think my next fight was at AX [Fighting], at 125 pounds. And this was when I first tried out 125 pounds.  I knocked out my opponent, Brandon Fields in 17 seconds.

I won the Axe [title] first, then the Genesis Muay Thai title.  Then I defended the Axe title.  And then I fought for the Genesis [MMA] title.  And then I fought for the Rumble on the Ridge title.  And [that’s] all four belts that I have now.

JT:  Did you defend the AX title at all?

DJ:  Yeah, I defended it against Jorge Garza, and I armbarred him in the second round.  Because after I fought a kickboxing match, against Scott McDonald, I broke my rib.  And when I came back, Matt told me “You’re already exciting to fight.  You go out there and you bang, but now you have to start finishing people.” So right after Matt said that, I started finishing people in MMA.  I armbarred Jorge Garza.  And that was the first fight that I finished somebody.  After Matt said that comment to me.

JT:  So you’ve fought steadily four times each year, since your debut.  You’ve been busy, man.

Sometimes I’ll fight more in a year, and take it less [next] year.  But if you do a ratio, yeah, it’s like four times each year.

You’ve gotta stay busy.  Because I’m the type of person that, if I’m not hurt or not strapped for cash or anything, I just keep on training. . . Because I want to get to the next level where I’m fighting overseas or anything.  I basically told Matt “what do I need to do to get to Shooto,” and he said “you need to do this and this and this.”  And so far I’ve kept on doing that.

JT:  What’s the next milestone for you?

DJ:  My next goal is to become pro and fight overseas in Shooto.

JT:  Thus far, what has been your best and worst memory of your fight career?

DJ:  Probably when Drew lost his belt to John “Prince” Albert.  Even though it had nothing to do with me, that’s probably my worst memory.  And the reason why I would say [that] is because John came in, and we didn’t overlook him, but the way he came in, and he did everything right; it’s like, that pisses me off because Drew should have been there.  And yes, things happen and stuff, but that’s my worst thing. . . because they never got a chance to fight.  Just like Caros and Taurean.  Caros beat Taurean twice with the same move, and the same sequence.  Guillotine.  But they never got a chance to fight.  Those are my worst memories – Drew losing his belt to John “Prince” Albert and Taurean losing to Caros.

JT:  What about good memories?

DJ:  My best one was probably when I defended my belt at AX and I armbarred [Jorge Garza].  And the reason why that’s probably my best memory is because of two reasons – one, that’s when Matt was saying “in order for you get to that next step, you need to start finishing people.”  And what did I do?  I finished that person.

And the second one was, that whole week, Skidds – we’re working on armbar from side control with the knee ride.  Over and over and over.  And once the chance popped up, I did everything perfect. Pushed the head down, circled around, armbarred him, pulled through, sat on my butt.  Had to break the lock, so I hammerfisted him in the face.  Once he let go, pop the hands up, and finished the armbar.  And then me and Steve had a big hug.  We were like “oh yeah, that’s what we worked on, baby.”  And it was just perfect.  Because we worked it and I wasn’t tired at all.  I could have fought somebody else that night, because I was in such good shape.

Even when flanked by his girlfriend and best friend, 'Mighty Mouse' is still all business.

Even when flanked by his girlfriend and best friend, 'Mighty Mouse' is still all business.

JT:  Tell me about your downtime.  What do you like to do when you’re trying to step away from the pressure of training and the ring?

DJ:  All I do is I come home and I chill with my girlfriend Destiny.  I like to dance a lot. . . Now that me and my girlfriend have calmed down, we don’t really go out.  But if I ever get a chance to go to an after party and dance, best believe I’ll be on the floor cutting some rug.

When she’s not here, I’m usually playing video games or working out.  And the video games I play are fighting games.  And zombie games too.

JT:  What’s worse – the 28 Days Later zombies or the remake Dawn of the Dead ones?

DJ:  I’m liking the Resident Evil zombies.  I know now, in Resident Evil 4 and 5, they’re not really zombies.  They’re the Lost Project, which is a whole different story.  But I like the whole background, how it’s a bioweapon.

JT:  How many zombies does it take to succumb Matt Hume?  How many before they turn him into a zombie?

DJ:  I’d have to say 24.

JT:  How about Matt Hume and Resident Evil zombies?

DJ:  That’s a good one.   If Matt Hume has the virus that Albert Wurtzker has, I think Matt Hume would destroy anybody in the zombie world.

JT:  Who do you think would win in a match between Matt Hume and the cartoon Mighty Mouse?

DJ:  Umm, Matt Hume. . . I think he’ll take his back and choke him out.

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is scheduled to fight at the next Genesis FIGHTS event, “Rise of Kings, Emperors of MMA,” on June 27th, at the Shoreline Community College.

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Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by jaytan716
Genesis FIGHTS: Cold War took place on December 6th, 2008, at the Bellevue Community College just outside Seattle, WA.

Genesis FIGHTS: Cold War took place on December 6th, 2008, at the Bellevue Community College just outside Seattle, WA.

The Emerald City celebrated their “season’s beatings” early, as Genesis FIGHTS held their final MMA / kickboxing event of 2008.  Entitled ‘Cold War,” the event took place at the Bellevue Community College.

Nine different fight teams participated in the night’s fight card of 15 bouts.  AMC Pankration had eight representatives on the bill, including Drew Brokenshire, Taurean Washington, and Demetrius Johnson all defending their respective featherweight, welterweight, and bantamweight titles.  In addition, the first two regional elimination matches for entry into the 155-pound Unified World Grand Prix of MMA (UWGP) took place.  The winners of those matches will square off in 2009 to determine who will be one of four participants in the UWGP.

The UWGP is a global tournament in the 155-pound weight class organized and promoted by a collective of promoters (including Genesis FIGHTS promoter Matt Hume) from North America, Asia (SHOOTO), Hawaii, and Europe (GOLDEN GLORY).  Each region is holding a four-man tournament to determine their regional representative, which will be a one-night four-man tournament to take place in 2009.  The winner of the UWGP will receive a multi-fight contract to a major MMA organization.

1. Greg “The Rage” Sage (AMC Pankration) vs. Julian Martin (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 155 lb. Novice Kickboxing

Sage was the first of eight AMC Pankration fighters on the bill tonight.  The first round saw Sage and Martin exchange kicks.  Martin, with the height advantage, largely kept Sage at bay with side and low kicks and jab combinations.  Sage was wearing a vicious red welt on his right flank.  Sage charged in at the beginning of the second round, but Martin caught him with a right cross.  Martin dropped sage by catching a right kick and tripping him over.  Sage largely tried to push the fight with charges.  In the third round, Sage picked his shots, using kicks and mid-range punches, while Martin kept his distance.  Sage did land a spinning back kick and dropped Martin with a left low kick.  Towards the end of the round, Sage charged Martin with body shots and clinched him against the ropes.  It looked like Sage had more gas in the tank.  Both fighters raise their hands in victory and share some mutual audience applause at the end of the match.

Greg Sage is awarded the match by split decision, giving AMC its first win for the night.

2. Craig Beatty (AMC Pankration) vs.  X Bowers (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 205 lb. Novice MMA

Round one was worth the price of admission alone, as Beatty & Bowers battled it out like an amateur level Griffin-Bonner.  Beatty fired the opening salvo with a right jab and Muay Thai knees.  Bowers fended the attack off with straight punches, slapping on a front headlock after Beatty slipped and fell.  They broke apart and continued to exchange hard shots, including Beatty almost taking Bower’s head off with a right hook.  The fans were into this match, including foot-stomping. Neither man was much for head defense, but both were giving it their all. In round two, Beatty took command with Muay Thai knees and body shots.  Bowers was exhausted and fell to the ground.  Beatty took the back, but Bowers rolled over and ended up on top, almost in Beatty’s guard.  Beatty is worked for an armbar from below.  Bowers threw Beatty to the side and took his back, but Beatty reversed back and got full mount.  Bowers eventually rolled over, allowing Betty to sink in the choke at 2:43 of the second round.  The crowd was ecstatic.

3. Jesse Winkler (Eastside MMA) vs. Sean Lindsey (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), Heavyweight Novice MMA

Lindsey is solid and looks game, almost like a smaller version off Kryzsztof Soszynski.  The first round saw Lindsey take the clinch several times.  The first time, he took Winkler to several corners, throwing knees in between.  Winkler landed a hard right cross.  If this was Vegas, the fans would have been rabidly booing, but Seattleites know their MMA.  Lindsey slapped on a front headlock to wear Winkler down, but Winkler held on, possibly baiting Lindsay into wasting energy.  It apparently worked, as Lindsey looked tired after breaking, but he bought some time by keeping Winkler at bay with kicks.  Lindsey swung hard to finish the fight, but Winkler’s got in some lefts and rights of his own.  Early in the second round, the ref halted the action, asking a doctor to check a cut over Winkler’s left eye.  But the bleeding was too much, and as such, the doctor called off the fight.

Sean Lindsey was awarded the match at 0:20 of the second round via TKO / doctor’s stoppage.

4. Eric Kennedy (AMC Pankration) vs. Dex Montenegro (Eastside MMA), 145 lb. Novice MMA

Montenegro wore shorts with the colors of the Filipino national flag.  As this fight happened on the same night as the De la Hoya-Pacquiao fight, this didn’t seem like a coincidence.

Kennedy stunned Montenegro early and slapped on a front headlock.  Montenegro escaped and got a guillotine after Kennedy shot in.  They took it to the ground and Kennedy eventually got a rear naked choke, with accompanying body triangle, but Montenegro fought it to the end of the round.  In round two, Kennedy scored another takedown and claimed top control early.  But the referee stood them up, at which point it Montenegro fought back with explosive leg kicks and punch combinations all the way to the end of the round.

Eric Kennedy was awarded the match via unanimous decision.

5. Brian Belisle (Bonney Lake, WA) vs. Leo Hoover (Gator MMA), Heavyweight Novice MMA

From the get-go, these two behemoths wanted to throw heavy artillery.  Hoover declined the opening round knuckle bump. Twelve seconds later, Hoover’s backed up his arrogance with a striking flurry that left Belisle on the ground.  This writer barely had time to blink.

6. Jordan Mclaughlin (Eastside MMA) vs. Jory Erickson (Great Northern Fight Club), 205 lb. Novice MMA

Erickson immediately scored a takedown.  Mclaughlin briefly had Erickson’s right arm, but before you knew it, Erickson had the back with hooks in.  Mclaughlin tried to roll out of it, but ends up tapping out at the one-minute mark of the first round.

7. James Kim (Eastside MMA) vs. Tim Williams (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 165 lb. Novice Kickboxing

Lots of engaging in the middle of the ring, with Williams throwing body shots, and Kim attacking with hard kicks and headshots.  Williams covered up, but Kim’s shots still got through.  James commanded ring generalship in this round, although Williams turned the steam up in the last 10 seconds.  In round two, Williams tried to make up for it, drilling Kim with headshots and a clear head kick.  By the end of it, Kim had a wicked red welt on the right side of his stomach.  Williams continued the assault in round three, but Kim volleyed back with leg kicks, and a superman punch.  Both men gave it their all to the end, but Tim Williams was awarded the match by decision.

At this point, ring announcer Dar Johnson announced a 10-minute intermission, which the crowd actually booed.  Clearly, Seattleites like their MMA.

8. Josh Baker (AMC Pankration) vs.  Brian McGrath (Great Northern Fight Club), 185 lb. Novice MMA

The cornrowed Baker is a fan favorite from Hume’s AMC Pankration team.  He walks over to the other corner and gives double knuckle bumps, demonstrating his fan favorite style.

Baker & McGrath went through an intense feeling out period in the first round, striking hard and backing away.  McGrath tried to take advantage of Baker overextending himself, but Baker catches a kick and tripped McGrath over, falling into his guard.  McGrath muted Baker by overhooking his arms, but the hometown favorite was able to pull out of guard.  Back on their feet, Baker dropped McGrath with a left jab as McGrath kicked a body shot.  The crowd was very Japanese for this match (read “intensely quiet and respectful of the fighters’ skills).

The Even-Steven battle continued in the second round.  Baker scored a takedown and got side position briefly before, they both came to their feet and traded knees before separating.   McGrath proved to be a tough challenge for Baker, who kept distance with low kicks.  McGrath saw his low kicks and raised them with head kicks.  Another clinch saw more knee exchanges and a head kick by McGrath as they separated.  McGrath once more stunned Baker, who shot for a takedown just before the bell ended the match.

Judges gave the match to Josh Baker by split decision.  Despite some audience boos, both showed great sportsmanship.  McGrath is no sore loser.

9. Ben Fodor (Alderwood MMA) vs. Justin Nelson (Team Quest), 170 lb. A-class MMA

Seemingly taking his cues from The Rock and Big Daddy Kane, Ben Fodor is a star in the making, and he clearly knows it.

However, in round one, Fodor found himself on the defensive for much of the match.  Nelson took Fodor down twice, but the two ended back up on their feet.  Nelson had the height and reach advantage, taking Fodor down in the corner, but Fodor was able to get to his feet and push the pressure on Nelson with overhand rights.  Nelson eventually got Fodor on the ground again and trapped him in a rear naked choke, then maintaining control with full mount and ground and pound tactics.  Ending up on the feet again, Fodor was able to mar a judo takedown, but Nelson forced it and continued to rain down punches.  Fodor gave it his all to get out of it and finally got to his feet, hurling overhand rights past Nelson’s guard as the bell rang.

In the second round, Fodor used his wrestling to prevent several takedown attempts.  Nelson worked hard for the takedown, but Fodor threw him off and dropped bombs, even with Nelson halfway out of the ring.  Nelson eventually got Fodor to the ground, where Fodor went for a leglock / ankle twist.  Back on their feet, Nelson continued the takedown assault with a judo toss attempt and another single-leg.  Fodor threw a high kick, followed by a spinning backfist that missed, but which popped the crowd.  By the end of the round, Fodor was blown up, but not so much that he didn’t have energy to play to the crowd.

But that wasn’t enough for the judges, who gave the decision to Justin Nelson.  Fodor looked out of his element in defeat.  Probably because at 8-0 up to that point, he was.

10. Brian Roberge (AMC Pankration) vs. Tim Sternod (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 170 lb. A-class MMA ranking fight

Roberge and Sternod were fast and furious in this barnburner.  Despite an early time-out for an eye poke on Sternod, the match continued.  Roberge had some nice combinations, connecting often.  The crowd once again “turned Japanese” for this match.  Roberge dropped Sternod, but couldn’t pass guard, so he stacked Sternod and dropped lefts.  As Sternod tried to escape from bottom by climbing up a single, then double-leg takedown position, Roberge peppered him with rights.  Roberge was working bodyshots from side control when the bell ended.

After taking another look at Sternod’s eye, the doctor stopped the match, awarding the match to Brian Roberge.

Brian McGrath & Josh Baker are brought into the ring.  Scorecard recalculations turn Baker’s win into a draw (and AMC’s record to 4-0-1.  There was minimal rejection from the crowd, even though their hometown hero was denied his victory.

11. Blaine Macintosh (Team Quest) vs. Rico Rough (United Fight Team), 155 lb. Unified World Grand Prix match

This was the first of two UWGP qualifier matches for the night.  Rough and Macintosh traded shots early in the match, with Macintosh connecting on punches and Rough throwing low kicks.  Rough caught a midsection kick from Macintosh and tripped him for the takedown, slamming Macintosh with a powerbomb after almost getting caught in an armbar.  Macintosh continued the jiu-jitsu assault with a rubberguard and gogoplata.  Rough escaped, but was gassed enough for Macintosh to capitalize with ground-and-pound, followed by a body triangle / rear naked choke.  Rough finally tapped at 3:34 of the first round.

12. Caros Fodor (AMC Pankration) vs. Kyle Gotzman (Silverdale, WA), 155 lb. Unified World Grand prix match

Caros Fodor, adopted brother of Ben, is another AMC hometown favorite and a regional triple champion, holding two belts in Genesis FIGHTS and another title in a different promotion.  Both Fodor and Gotzman are U.S. Marines.

Fodor and Gotzman didn’t waste time in engaging right off the bat.  Fodor got the clinch and threw Muay Thai knees until scoring a takedown.  Gotzman held a tight clinch from the bottom, but Fodor eventually got side mount, then full mount, working a kimura / Americana.  Finally, Fodor spun around to catch an armbar on Gotzman, who tapped out at 2:04 of the first round.

Caros Fodor will now face Blaine Macintosh in early 2009 to determine the Genesis FIGHTS representative in the UWGP, which takes place later next year.

13. Drew Brokenshire (AMC Pankration) vs. 9-1 Butch McGavern (Victory Athletics), 145 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

Brokenshire’s was the first of three Genesis FIGHTS title defenses for AMC for the night.

Brokenshire and McGavern traded blows from the start.  With no delay, Brokenshire tagged McGavern with a right cross to his left temple, instantly dropping his challenger.  He followed up with ground-and-pound shots until the referee pulled him off at 0:17 in the first round.

14. Taurean Washington (AMC Pankration) vs. Justin Larsson (Twin Dragons), 170 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

With the title vacant, Washington and Larsson were both hungry to claim championship gold.    

After briefly feeling each other out, Washington and Larsson clashed with simultaneous hard rights.  Larsson clinched up and went for a takedown that almost propelled them both out of the ring.  Restarting in the middle, Washington tagged Larsson with another right that dropped Larsson like a sack of potatoes at 1:35 of the first round.  This was almost a replay of the previous match.  Larsson was out cold for several minutes, but he was eventually able to get up of his own accord.  The crowd was respectably quiet and concerned for Larson, giving him an honorable round of applause as he exits the ring.

15. Demetrious Johnson (AMC Pankration) vs. 7-3  Forest Seabourne (Victory Athletics), 135 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

This was Johnson’s first title defense of 2008, as his previous Genesis FIGHTS matches this year were in Muay Thai (May) and boxing (February), notching up wins in both outings.    

This was fast scrap between wrestlers.  Seabourne scored a takedown early in the first round, but didn’t hold Johnson down for long.  Johnson came back with a hard right.  The two vied for control standing, ending up in whizzer position against the ropes.  Seabourne was able to throw Johnson to the ground, but couldn’t capitalize on it before Johnson got to his feet.  Johnson continues his striking with Muay Thai knees.  They finally ended up on the ground from whizzer position, with Johnson in Seabourne’s half-guard.  Johnson was able to employ some ground-and-pound rights while using his wrestling to keep Seabourne on the ground.  Seabourne eventually escaped and Johnson chased him with a high kick.  Johnson got another takedown and sunk his hooks in, tying up a rear naked choke and getting the tap at the 4:09 mark of the first round.

Although not a team tournament, AMC Pankration claimed the “Cold War” definitively, with a powerful 8-0-1 record for the night, including first-round finishes in the last four matches of the night.  Brian Roberge also had an early night, taking his match by doctor’s stoppage, while Eric Kennedy and Greg Sage went all the way to decision victories.  Craig Beatty finished his opponent midway through the second round with one of the most exciting submissions of the night.

Genesis FIGHTS next event will take place on March 21st, 2009, at the Shoreline Community College.