Tag Archives: American Top Team Atlanta

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.”

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.


Atlanta’s Roan Carneiro makes weight ahead of UFC Fight Night 94

Roan Carneiro, head coach of American Top Team in Atlanta, makes weight ahead of his scrap against Kenny Robertson at UFC Fight Night 94 in Hidalgo Texas.  Learn more about Carneiro here.

Catch replay of the weigh-ins below.  Jump to 14:48 for Roan Carneiro vs Kenny Robertson.

UFC Fight Night 94 in Hidalgo, Texas takes place State Farm Arena.  The main card begins at 8pm EST on Fox Sports 1.

Atlanta’s American Top Team Head Coach steps into the Octagon this weekend

American Top Team (ATT) is one of the premier MMA training centers in the United States.  Based out of Coconut Creek, Florida, the gym has produced numerous champions in a variety of promotions.  Amanda Nunes (UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion) and Tyron Woodley (UFC Welterweight Champion) are two current champs based out of the storied gym.  It’s a staple training center in the MMA game, and the list of prominent mixed martial artists associated with the gym is endless.

But did you know that Atlanta has its very own ATT?  American Top Team – Atlanta is located at 2110 Faulkner Rd NE, Atlanta.

Just like ATT in Florida, Atlanta’s center produces its own group of talented fighters for the southwest of the United States and beyond.   For example, Devorious Tubbs, a top-five fighter in Georgia, who fights in the main event at NFC 87 in a couple weeks, is the Muay Thai instructor for ATT Atlanta.

In addition to producing upper echelon talent in the area, ATT Atlanta is the home gym for, Roan “Jucao” Carneiro.  “Jucao” is a current UFC fighter and owner of the Atlanta-based ATT franchise.   Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carneiro is a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He started his MMA career back in 2000.

Carneiro is currently in his second stint in the UFC and has had 7 fights inside the Octagon with a 3-4 record.  His biggest win is arguably a submission victory against Mark Munoz.  The 38 year BJJ specialist, will be taking on Kenny Robertson in a welterweight fight on the main card of UFC Fight Night 94 in Hidalgo, Texas this weekend.  Robertson is coming off of a loss as well, so fans should expect a hard fought bout between both opponents. The Brazilian fighter most recently lost to Derek Brunson in February, so Saturday night will be a critical fight in his UFC career.

UFC Fight Night 94 will take place on September 17th, and will broadcast on Fox Sports 1.  Fight Pass starts at 7 pm, prelims start at 8pm and the main card goes live at 10 pm.

Although Carneiro is in South Texas preparing for his fight, I had a chance to visit ATT Atlanta this week while interviewing Vee Johnson (Corporate Fight Night 12 headliner).  Look for that interview in the next couple weeks. I had a great experience meeting the team and was extremely impressed with the gym and the team that they have put together.  I had the good fortune to meet a couple of their coaches including Devorious Tubbs (Muay Thai Coach) and Jake Jo (BJJ Coach).  Overall, I think Carneiro and team have created a great environment for beginners and wanna-be pros to find success.

I’m more than certain that ATT – ATL will be watching UFC Fight Night 94 very closely this Saturday to root for their head coach and mentor.

You can get more information about ATT Atlanta at www.attatl.com