Category Archives: Corporate Fight Night

48-year-old music industry exec, Vee “OG” Johnson, brings MMA to CFN 12

Successful music industry executive, Vonce (Vee) “OG” Johnson will be headlining the Corporate Fight Night 12 card, that takes place on October 21st at the Georgia Aquarium.  “OG” will be taking on up-and-comer Rakim Thorpe in an MMA fight that serves as the night’s main event.

When talking to AtlantaFights.com about his noteworthy career, Johnson explains “I’m a music publisher.  I own a company with my wife. We do royalties. Our company’s called Royalty Firm, and I have some royalties from different artists, predominantly from the rap industry. I was an executive over at Arista at one point, and at Def Jam at another point with my friend and business partner Shakir Stewart.  He passed, but I kind of left that part alone and pushed my company Platinum House into an entertainment consultant firm.  The company has been mostly music, but there’s another part that is entertainment. I have a pro skateboarder, Stevie Williams. I have athletes that come back and forth with me like Baron Davis (NBA Player), those kind of guys, but that’s what we do. We’re mainly entertainment-based.”

Although Johnson is a successful businessman in the music industry,

Vee "OG" Johnson
Vee “OG” Johnson

“OG” Vee Johnson is a hard-nosed, street-smart brown-belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu  technician.  Despite the 48-year-old’s interest in MMA, it took a good cause for “OG” to make the leap into the cage.  “These are the last hurrah days, man,” Johnson explains.  “But, I still got it in me. I feel good enough to get into the cage and I met Terri [Moss], and we talked.  It’s a way to get some of this [energy] out of me. I still do Jiu Jitsu. I’ll probably do Jiu-Jitsu till I can’t do Jiu-Jitsu anymore in my life.  So, the [MMA] fighting aspect was just the final piece to my life.  The cause that [Terri Moss] came with up, Charity : Water, just sealed the deal.  It’s like, “Okay, now I’ve got a reason to fight.”  Win, lose, or draw, it’s just a good cause.  If we can generate some money through the entertainment industry because I’m fighting somebody, man, so be it.  Man, I’ll sacrifice myself every time for people that have some necessities in life that we take for granted.”

Is anybody in Johnson’s  immediate world (friends, family, industry peers) surprised by his upcoming MMA fight?  Definitely not.  It’s quite the opposite.  For Johnson, strapping on a pair of MMA gloves, is just the “next step” for a person that has had a pretty chaotic life,

Vee Johnson training at American Top Team - Atlanta
Vee Johnson training at American Top Team – Atlanta

especially when you consider his early gang-affiliated days.  “[My family] has been thinking I’m crazy [chuckles] for the last ten years, so it don’t even matter,” Johnson says when talking about what his family thinks about his upcoming bout.  “I wasn’t a super good kid, so me doing this as an adult people say was the natural progression or transition for me in my life.  I am a Los Angeles native.   I was an early gang banger and that just kind threw my life in a whirlwind.  But this fight piece of Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and wrestling kind of helped me prolong this life I have.”

So for being so passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you would expect the music industry exec to claim that he’s a jiu jitsu guy, through and through.  Instead, he considers his “fighting style” merely a collection of his life experiences.  “I would say I’m a fine-tuned street fighter [chuckles],” when Johnson talks about his fighting style.  “I got a little Jits in me. I got a little Muay Thai in me. I got some things that I learned just from being outside as a youth and I wrestled. I was a high school wrestler and got myself into some schooling about wrestling.”

Of the fighters on CFN 12’s fight card, it appears that “OG” has the most experience in a wide-variety of combat sports.  Whether it’s through street combat, NAGA tournaments, karate tournaments, or collegeiate level wrestling, Johnson has covered all bases.   It will be interesting to see what sort of strategy his opponent, Rakim Thorpe, implements, against a guy with so many angles to his game.  “Well, I’ve always done karate tournaments when I was young,” Johnson states.  “I’ve  wrestled in high school and at collegiate levels. I’ve always done the Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and those kind of things.   I’ve won a few NAGA tournaments and some other various tournaments over my period of time in this sport.”

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American Top Team – Atlanta

So how does a 48-year-old amateur MMA fighter train for a fight against an opponent that is twenty-four years younger?  Well, he drowns himself in all disciplines of mixed martial arts training at one of the best MMA gyms in the Atlanta-area, which is headed up by a current UFC Fighter.  “Well you know it’s rigorous,” Johnson states when describing fighting and training in his forties.   “At this age, I train with a lot of younger guys and it’s hard, but I push myself to the limits that I can push myself.  I’ve got great guys like [Devorius] Tubbs, who’s fighting at NFC 87, my Muay Thai coach.  Jake [Jo] and Sergio, two incredible grappler and jiu-jitsu people, not to mention my professor, Roan “Jacao” [Carneiro], the number one Jiu-Jitsu guy in his class in the world.”

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Johnson finally got his opponent

Rakim Thorpe
Rakim Thorpe

squared away at CFN 12, but what does “OG” think about his rival and being the FIRST mixed martial arts fight to headline a Corporate Fight Night event?  “I don’t know anything about the young brother other than he’s 25 or 26 and his name is Rakim, and other than that I don’t know anything about him,” Johnson confesses.   “I hope him and I have a nice bout and people get a chance to see MMA at this capacity at Corporate Fight Night, which they haven’t been able to see yet.  So I’m just honored that [Corporate Fight Night] is letting myself and this gentleman be the first to do this, and hopefully we can spawn more people to [fight] on this level.  And I think it’s a good way for so many younger guys to get some of those amateur fights under their belt which they have to do before they become pro.”

Despite having a wealth of combat sports experience, don’t look for any flashy finishes from Johnson.   “Well, expect me to grind it out,” Johnson says when discussing what CFN fans will see performance-wise.  “I’m a grinder and I’m probably not the fastest starter, but I think it’s going to be really exciting and interesting because I don’t think these fans per se – for corporate fight night – have seen much MMA.  So some of the fight may be a little boring to them if it’s on the ground and they don’t understand what’s going on in that capacity but we’ll get some stand up too.  Hopefully I’ll just pull out the victory in the end and finish my night off like that.  No bad wishes on my opponent, but I’m just saying this is something that I need to get done, so be prepared!”

Get your tickets here.

Check out the latest CFN 12 fight card here.

 

Rakim Thorpe, headlines CFN 12, will try to go to 3-0 this Friday

Rakim Thorpe is a 24-year-old retail manager who comes to Atlanta

Rakim Thorpe
Rakim Thorpe

from Freehold, New Jersey. Thorpe is currently 2-0 in his amateur MMA career with previous wins coming out of National Fighting Championship (NFC), an Atlanta-area MMA promotion.

Thorpe, an up-and-coming MMA fighter in the Atlanta area, shares the main-event slot at Corporate Fight Night 12 with his 48-year-old opponent, Vee Johnson.  Check back later this week for more on Johnson.

CFN 12 takes place on October 21st at the Georgia Aquarium.

AtlantaFights.com had the honor of asking Thorpe a few questions before his headline bout later this week.

AtlantaFights.com: What do you do for a living?
Thorpe:  I’m currently a Manager in the retail industry, but I have a degree in Sports/Entertainment/Event Management. I hope to someday get the opportunity to utilize my skills in the Sports Industry.
AtlantaFights.com: Why did you decide to jump into the ring?
Thorpe:  After school it was hard for me to find work so to stay busy I worked part time, and decided to try my luck at MMA at a local gym in Gwinnett. I was hesitant to go back after the first class because I was so out of shape, but I kept going. And here I am right now. Headlining as the Main Event for Atlanta Corporate Fight Night 12.
AtlantaFights.com: What sort of experience in the ring do you have?  Have you had other fights?
Thorpe:  I’ve only been in this sport for about a year and a half now, but I have two fights under my belt. I’m currently 2-0 in the NFC (National Fighting Championship).
AtlantaFights.com: What do your fellow co-workers think of what you’re doing?
Thorpe: They love it, and they are very supportive. Whenever it’s time for me cut out bad eating habits, my employees are always bringing me healthy snacks. And trust me, cutting weight on the job is not easy as one can get irritable when your on a extremely strict diet.
AtlantaFights.com: What does your family think about you jumping into the ring?
Thorpe:  My mother loves it.  My grandmother despises it. [chuckles]  She thinks that it’s too dangerous, and she doesn’t want me to get hurt. Everyone else in my family is pretty stoked about it too. They are proud of me, and it feels good.
AtlantaFights.com:  What do you consider your fighting style?
Thorpe: Everyone I’ve come in contact with in the sport has labeled me a wrestler, but my boxing and Muay Thai is coming a long very nicely. Like I said, I’ve only been training for a year and a half. I’m neither a counter puncher nor the aggressor, I feel that I just have “the eye.” There is a time and a place for everything in this sport, and it only takes a split second for a fighter to slip up and lose a fight. I trust my instincts and training to get me through my bouts.
AtlantaFights.com:  Do you have multiple trainers or do you have just one person that’s helping you out?
Thorpe:  I train with X3 Sports in Atlanta, we have multiple trainers at each of the locations. Our team training sessions are held by Tony Tucci & Gabriel Kitober.
AtlantaFights.com: What do you make of your Vee Johnson?
Thorpe:  I know he’s a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu, but I’m not worried because I’m confident in my wrestling as well as my take down defense. My stand up is just another element that he will have to deal with. Much respect to him, but this is a fight at the end of the day. I am here to take it to him.
AtlantaFights.com:  Are you going to have a strategy for Johnson?
Thorpe:  Of course I do, but strategies change. The great ones have to be able to adjust on the fly. I don’t want to give anything away but I will have to execute come fight night if I want to move to 3-0.
AtlantaFights.com:  What should fans expect out of you on October 21st?
Thorpe:  Well, I go into every fight expecting a war so fans should too. I’ll be in attendance in warrior spirit, I’ll see you at the fights!

Get your tickets here.

Check out the latest CFN 12 fight card here.

Ten Questions with Anthony “Black Simba” Wakasiaka, Corporate Fight Night 12 Participant

Anthony “Black Simba” Wakasiaka is 26 years old and a native of

Anthony "Black Simba" Wakasiaka
Anthony “Black Simba” Wakasiaka

Kenya.  An Atlanta-area media manager by day, “Black Simba” will be making his amateur boxing debut at Corporate Fight Night 12 to be held on October 21st at the Georgia Aquarium.

Over the weekend, AltantaFights.com had a chance to learn a little bit more about Wakasiaka, who takes on Jeremy “The Hurricane” Jones.

Check out “Ten Questions with Anthony Wakasiaka” today and then see him live on October 21st at CFN 12….and maybe even go to the weigh-ins that are being held at the Hard Rock downtown the day before.

Anthony Wakasiaka (left) vs Jeremy Jones (right)
Anthony Wakasiaka (left) vs Jeremy Jones (right)
AtlantaFights.com: What do you do for a living?
Wakasiaka: I’m a media manager at Response Mine Interactive, an online marketing agency in Buckhead.
AtlantaFights.com: Why did you decide to jump into the ring?
Wakasiaka:  I was inspired by my CEO, Ken Robbins, who aimed to live a better and healthy life through boxing and eating right. His results were amazing and I was inspired to do the same … With an exception of being a vegan … I love my chicken!
AtlantaFights.com: What sort of experience in the ring do you have?  Have you had other fights?
Wakasiaka:  This will be my first boxing fight.
AtlantaFights.com: What do your fellow co-workers think of what you’re doing?
Wakasiaka: I have a lot of support from my co-workers. They are constantly checking up on me and making sure that I’m eating right and working out.
AtlantaFights.com: What does your family think about you jumping into the ring?
Wakasiaka:  My family has shown great support and have been inspired to take time out of their busy schedules to workout and stay in shape.
AtlantaFights.com:  What do you consider your fighting style?
Wakasiaka: I consider myself a hybrid fighter. I choose to adapt to the current situation. A mix of aggressive attack and counter attack is what I consider to be my natural style.
AtlantaFights.com:  Do you have multiple trainers or do you have just one person that’s helping you out?
Wakasiaka:  I only have one trainer, Terri Moss – The Boss. She is the real deal!
AtlantaFights.com: What do you make of your opponent?
Wakasiaka:  I don’t know much about Jeremy Jones but he seems to have the fire needed to put up a good fight. I also respect him for stepping up and supporting “charity: water” in their mission to provide clean and safe drinking water in developing countries.
AtlantaFights.com:  Are you going to have a strategy for Jones?
Wakasiaka:  I’ve trained long and hard for this fight. I intend to reflect my tireless training in the ring.
AtlantaFights.com:  What should fans expect out of you on October 21st?
Wakasiaka:  2 words … Excitement & entertainment.  Hakuna Matata … It means no worries

Get your tickets here.

Check out the latest CFN 12 fight card here.

Hudson Woody hopes to remain undefeated at Corporate Fight Night 12

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Hudson “Lights Out” Woody with the right cross

Hudson “Lights Out” Woody is 21 years old and a sales rep at FAE Group.  After going through some trying times, “Lights Out” has used both boxing and his faith in God to make positive impacts on his life.

Woody, who is 1-0 in his amateur boxing career, takes on Gary McGowan at Corporate Fight Night 12 on October 21st at the Georgia Aquarium.

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AtlantaFights.com had a chance to learn a little more about the undefeated fighter this week.  Check out our interview with Hudson “Lights Out” Woody!

AtlantaFights.com: What do you do for a living?
Woody:  I am a Sales Rep at FAE. FAE Group is a world leader in the design and construction of professional machinery for road construction, agricultural and forestry applications.
AtlantaFights.com: Why did you decide to jump into the ring?
Woody:  I got into boxing when I was going through a really hard time in my life. God brought boxing into my life as a positive outlet to get closer to Him and strengthen my relationship with Christ.
AtlantaFights.com: What sort of experience in the ring do you have?  Have you had other fights?
Woody:  I have some experience in training, however as far as experience in the ring, I currently only have one fight under my belt and it was at a previous ACFN event. I won that fight so I am currently 1-0.
AtlantaFights.com: What do your fellow co-workers think of what you’re doing?
Woody: I work with a bunch of guys in a warehouse so they think its GREAT! They are supporting me all the way and are excited for me to get another win.
AtlantaFights.com: What does your family think about you jumping into the ring?
Woody:  My family couldn’t be happier. Than have seen first hand what a positive impact boxing has had on my life in the past couple of years. They are my biggest supports and I couldn’t even do it without my parents, and my beautiful girlfriend.
AtlantaFights.com:  What do you consider your fighting style?
Woody: I wouldn’t really put my fighting style into any specific category. My style is training hard and putting everything I have into the fight. I go out there and do the best I can and do what I have to do. Win or lose, I have God on my team, so nothing can really stop me.
AtlantaFights.com:  Do you have multiple trainers or do you have just one person that’s helping you out?
Woody:  For my last fight, I trained under Terri [Moss], at Buckhead Fight Club. However, due to my new job and new hours/location, I am unable to make it down to Buckhead to train with her. I am currently training at Legacy Fight Club located in Buford, GA.
AtlantaFights.com: What do you make of your opponent?
Woody:  I don’t know much about him (Gary McGowan), but he seems like a nice guy. I am really thankful for him stepping up and getting in the ring with me. Without him, I would have no opponent so I wouldn’t even be fighting.
AtlantaFights.com:  Are you going to have a strategy for McGowan?
Woody:  I guess I would have to reiterate and say that training hard and put my all into this fight is my strategy. There’s no better feeling that knowing you did all you could in preparation to the fight.
AtlantaFights.com:  What should fans expect out of you on October 21st?
Woody:  The fans should definitely expect an exciting fight. I know I am going to bring a lot to the table and I expect nothing less from my opponent. I’m super stoked about it.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Check out the latest CFN 12 fight card here.

Troy Von Otnott, former Army kickboxer, to channel Bruce Lee at CFN 12?

Troy Von Otnott

AtlantaFights.com had a chance to play the Q&A game with Corporate Fight Night fighter, Troy Von Otnott, ahead of his CFN 12 bout on October 21st at the Georgia Aquarium.  With previous combat sports experience , Von Otnott appears to be a force to be reckoned with.  His opponent, Brian Mize, will certainly have his hands full next Friday.  It’s clear to me, that the Army vet will be ALL business inside the ring.  Should be a good fight!

AtlantaFights.com: What do you do for a living?
Von Otnott:  I work with Georgia Tech’s Research Institute helping to commercialize their advanced clean energy technologies.  I also recently started a new clean energy development company that works with Native American Tribes to create utility-scale clean energy projects.
AtlantaFights.com: Why did you decide to jump into the ring?
Von Otnott:  My friend, Preston Haliburton, convinced me to participate in this event.
AtlantaFights.com: What sort of experience in the ring do you have?  Have you had other fights?
Von Otnott:  30 years ago, I was a part of the U.S. Army kickboxing team out of Fort Polk, Louisiana.  We travelled to other military branch bases and fought against the Marines, Air Force and Navy.  I fought in six fights and was 5-1, The one guy I lost to was a 2nd Degree Black Belt, so that was definitely a painful learning experience for me.  A broken nose will teach you how to duck.
AtlantaFights.com: What do your fellow co-workers think of what you’re doing?
Von Otnott: Everyone thinks this is an awesome event, especially considering that it supports a great charitable cause like Charity Water.
AtlantaFights.com: What does your family think about you jumping into the ring?
Von Otnott:  Well, my Mom actually hates the idea.  She said I have been getting into fights my whole life and it’s time to give it a rest. Which is exactly what I plan to do; win, lose or draw, this is my last fight.  I’m hoping to retire undefeated like Floyd Mayweather.
AtlantaFights.com:  What do you consider your fighting style?
Von Otnott: I would say my fighting style will get determined in the ring based upon my opponent.  If he’s aggressive, I’ll counter, if he’s laid back and taking it too easy, I’ll bring the fight to him.  Bruce Lee once said, “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
AtlantaFights.com:  Do you have multiple trainers or do you have just one person that’s helping you out?
Von Otnott:  I’ve been primarily training with Preston Haliburton and my friend Dr. Mark McKenna.  It’s been interesting training with a much larger guy who is a professional boxer and a smaller guy who has speed and elusiveness.
AtlantaFights.com: What do you make of your opponent?
Von Otnott:  He seems like a great guy but I’m sure when we get into the ring, he’s going to try taking my head off, so I have to be ready for anything.  I want him to know that no matter what happens when we’re in the ring, it’s just business.  After the fight, I’m sure we’ll be good friends.  I was always taught to respect my opponent, not fear him.  I live by that motto.
AtlantaFights.com:  Are you going to have a strategy for Brian?
Von Otnott:  You’ll see it Friday night.
AtlantaFights.com:  What should fans expect out of you on October 21st?
Von Otnott:  Speed, power, tenacity and sportsmanship.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Check out the latest CFN 12 fight card here.