Tag Archives: NFC 87

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.

 

NFC 87: Need For Correction?

If you have been watching the latest iteration of the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, and you are like me, then you are thrilled by the format change.  This season, the UFC has collected all of the flyweight champs from some of the best regional promotions in the world and put them on the show. A tournament-style format decides the winner of TUF as well as who gets the next shot at UFC Flyweight champ, Demetrius Johnson.

I see this sort of TUF format as a huge opportunity for regional promotions like National Fighting Championship (out of Atlanta) to get their name out there from a national perspective and to legitimize the fighters that are coming out of that local promotion.  If the UFC continues doing these “champ” tournaments as part of TUF, regional shows need to ensure they have a good selection of champs across a variety of different weight-classes and have exciting, well-crafted fight cards to likely be considered for that TUF exposure.  And of course they need to have a good following by the local fans.   Unfortunately, based on my recent experience at NFC 87, I’m not sure they are ready for primetime from a couple different angles.

The good news is that the NFC has a pretty good fan following.  They’ve sold out the last several shows at a high quality venue (Center Stage Atlanta).  Although my hunch is that quite a bit of attendees are directly supporting their training partner, friend, or family member in the cage.  There were almost forty fighters on the card for the event!  The jury is still out as to how many casual fans are making the show.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a big fan of NFC.  Just look at the accomplishments the NFC lists in their 14 years as a promotion.  But, unlike NFC 86 that had an action-packed trimmed-down fight card, that included a title fight between two highly ranked MMA athletes, NFC 87 was filled with decisions, a lot of bad judging, and WAY too many fights.    I heard several in attendance voicing their displeasure about the length of the event, the lack of pro MMA bouts, and the lack of a headline title bout.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I love what the NFC is doing overall.  There was nothing the NFC could do about the bad judging.  The company has some of the best production value I’ve seen at a regional show.  They have proven yet again last Saturday that they have one of the best venues in the business, great music between fights, interesting walkout song selection, and a high quality announcer.  They’ve got production value locked down.    If you go to an NFC show, you’ll get a glimpse of what it would be like to see a UFC event.  But with all that being said, there are a few things I wish they would change from a fan’s perspective:

  1. MMA: Stick more towards mixed martial arts.   Fans want to see MMA and not muay thai or kickboxing.  Of the 18 fights, 13 were MMA, whereas 5 were muay thai, including the main event.  Of the 13 MMA bouts, only 5 were at the professional level.  12 of 18 fights were amateur bouts.
  2. Titles: Always have a pro title on the line.  NFC 86 had a huge welterweight title on the line.  No titles were up for grabs at NFC 87.  Title holders help to grow the notoriety of the promotion, and of the title holder as the fighter makes their way to the “big show.”  And of course, it makes for a more exciting fight, when title stakes are on the line.
  3. Matchmaking: This one is the hardest one to control because you never know what you are going to get when you are matchmaking, but the NFC should focus on the best matchups possible.  NFC 87 resulted in 10 decisions out of 18 fights.  Of those 10 decisions, 4 were split decisions.  There were only 6 finishes at the event (2 fights ended via a fighter throwing in the towel).  I won’t event get into the bad judging, which of course is not on the NFC.
  4. Fight Card: Please trim down the fight card.  There were 18 fights on the card and the last bout ended at 1am.   Sometimes more is not always better.  There was actually 19 bouts scheduled, but one was scratched.

NFC has been doing this for a lot of years, so I’m sure they have a master plan, but as a fan outside looking in, I see room for improvement for the NFC to get attention from the likes of the UFC and others.

My hope is that we see the NFC focus more on MMA, put belts on the line, focus on as many pro fights as they can, and trim down the card.  If they do that, they may get the attention of the UFC, but they will SURELY get the attention of the fans.  Hopefully David Oblas (NFC founder) and crew are listening.

Luckily for me and for the rest of the hungry Atlanta-area MMA community, the next NFC show is just around the corner.  The event, NFC 88, will again take place at Center Stage Atlanta on November 11.  Get your tickets here.


Here’s a recap of the results for last Saturday’s event (NFC 87).

Main Event: Warren Thompson vs Devorius Tubbs (Muay Thai Bout): Thompson wins via UD.

Pro MMA

  • Lawson McClure vs Rusty Crowder: McClure wins via split decision. Judges straight-up suck.  Another bad decision.
  • Nathan Williams vs Nick Sprayberry:    Williams wins via UD.
  • Zac Cooper vs Chris Walker: Cooper wins via first round RNC.
  • Alen Mulametovic vs Chris Ortiz:  Mulametovic  wins via first round TKO.
  • Doug Usher vs Ben Brewer: Usher wins via first round TKO.

Pro Muay Thai

  • LJ Jones vs Terrance Hodges:  Hodges’ corner throws in the towel.  Jones gets the win.

Advanced Amateur MMA

  • NFC Middleweight Championship: Emmanuel Osho vs DJ Wilson:  Osho retains belt via UD.
  • NFC GA Welterweight Championship – Robert Hale vs Tresean Gore:  Gore takes the title via split decision.
  • NFC GA Light Heavyweight Championship – Darian Perry vs Ose Abunaw:  Abunaw via liver kick KO
  • Chris Pullie vs Antwuan Mosley: No winner.  A majority draw. Pullie was robbed
  • Ivey Mewborn vs Brianna Smith: Smith throws in the towel in the s cond round.  Mewborn gets the win.

Amateur MMA

  • Jesus Diaz vs Chris Arnold: Arnold via unanimous decision.
  • Diego Bautista vs Menelik Milner: Bautista wins via unanimous decision.
  • Michael Fortner vs Ankur Mathew: Scratched.
  • Brandon Garner vs Zane Wolf: Wolf wins via second round RNC.

Amateur Muay Thai

  • Nick Geoffrion vs Lewis Heald: Geoffrion wins via split decision.  These judges are joke. Geoffrion won, but not a split.
  • Aldo Betancourt vs Htoo Lay: Lay wins via KO at 1:15 of RD 1.
  • NFC Title Fight: Jahmar Whitehead vs Chase Boutwell: Boutwell wins via UD.

 

 

Headed to NFC 87 this Friday?  Get to know headliner, Devorius Tubbs, before you go.

Devorius Tubbs, an Atlanta native, takes on Warren Thompson this Friday as the headline bout at National Fighting Championship’s 87th event taking place at Center Stage Atlanta.

Devorious Tubbs (Credit: Keith Mills)
Devorious Tubbs (Credit: Keith Mills)

I had a chance to sit down with the 32-year-old mixed martial artist in order to chat with him about his training, his upcoming opponent, and what he wants to do with his fight career. Check it out.


AtlantaFights.com: How did your fight with Thompson come together?

Tubbs:  You know, me and Warren have been friends and teammates for ten plus years and Warren’s one of them guys…He’ll fight any of his teammates. He doesn’t care, and he called me out. We had words. We had practices and he called me out, and pretty much now we’re fighting [chuckles].

AtlantaFights.com:  Is there animosity there from the call out?

Tubbs:  There’s no animosity on my part. I was upset when he called me out online, and I came to him and told him– he called me out twice, and each time he called me out, I already had an opponent set up for a fight so I was like, “Don’t call me out. You know I got an opponent. You know I can’t take a fight so don’t call me out.” And I told him in his face how I felt. And then when my opponent backed out from my last fight, he came in again and said he wanted to [fight]– after he kind of like apologized for everything.  He asked if I would like to take a fight with him so we made it happen.

AtlantaFights.com:  Can you talk about your strategy for Thompson and what you expect the outcome to be?

Tubbs:  I really don’t know.  I think I could end the fight anywhere from punches, elbows, to knees. I feel like I’m very diverse, more diverse than he is [chuckles]. I feel like he has never fought a fighter like me. He’s fought some good fighters, but he’s never fought nobody quite like me yet.

AtlantaFights.com:  So why is this a Muay Thai fight versus an MMA bout?

Tubbs:  He didn’t want a MMA fight. I think he would have done one, but he preferred a Muay Thai fight. He’s the one that called me out so I let him pick what he wanted to do. I asked him MMA or Thai? He said Thai, so we’re doing Thai.  I’ve done Thai in the past. I was ranked number one in the world when I was an amateur. I was 17-0. Won two World Muay Thai championships when I was an amateur. 4-1 as a pro in Muay Thai.

AtlantaFights.com:  What do you want to do in the future in regard to your combat sports career? Do you want to stay with the Muay Thai, or do you want to venture further into MMA?

 Tubbs:  I’m just 3-0 right now in MMA. I’m actually ranked number 1 and 2 at 185 (pounds) and 205 (pounds) in Atlanta, and because of the opponents I fought…I fought all Legacy Promotions fighters.  MMA is what I want to do. That’s where I see myself going. I love both of them. I wouldn’t mind fighting both of them. But I want to make it to Bellator, UFC or something like that. I’m just having a hard time finding opponents because of my Muay Thai background [chuckles]. I’ve fought Olympic judo guys. I’ve fought Division One wrestlers so far. Now, I’m just having a hard time finding opponents because nobody wants to fight a striker who’s got a good takedown offense [chuckles].

AtlantaFights.com: Talk about your grappling, ground, wrestling skills?

Tubbs:  I don’t have a wrestling background, but I’ve been doing MMA training since 2008 with high-levels guys – Douglas Lima, Jucao Carneiro, Dhiego Lima, Amir Dadovic, and Olympic wrestlers like Raymond Jordan. I’ve trained with Brian Stann. I trained with a lot of guys. OSP from the UFC. I have trained with a lot of people for years, and I’m ready. I believe right now I’m ready to compete at the highest level with MMA, right now.

AtlantaFights.com:  What gym do you work out of and who do you train with?

Tubbs:  I work out of American Top Team Atlanta and American Top Team Gwinnett. I also train at Knuckle Up Fitness. I train everywhere. I’ve trained with, like I said, Douglas Lima, Dhiego Lima, Amir Dadovic, Roan Jucao Carneiro, Dave McKay, Jeremy Wallace, a lot of guys. I’ve trained with a lot of high-level guys.

AtlantaFights.com:  What should NFC fans expect on Friday from you?

Tubbs:  An exciting performance [laughter]. An exciting performance, that’s what they are going to expect. My fans, they’ve seen me fight.  I fought Muay Thai for NFC twice, I think. NFC and Legacy provides for all my MMA fights there. So they (fans) know what they’re going to get.


NFC 87 takes place on September 30, 2016 at Center Stage Atlanta.  Tickets for the show are extremely limited, but they are still available at Ticketmaster.  Learn more about NFC by going to www.nfcfighting.com.


Here’s the full fight card for NFC 87 (subject to change):

Main Event: Warren Thompson vs Devorius Tubbs (Muay Thai Bout)

Pro MMA

  • Lawson McClure vs Rusty Crowder
  • Nathan Williams vs Nick Sprayberry
  • Zac Cooper vs Chris Walker
  • Alen Mulametovic vs Chris Ortiz
  • Doug Usher vs Ben Brewer

Pro Muay Thai

  • L BD Jones vs Terrance Hodges

Advanced Amateur MMA

  • NFC Middleweight Championship: Emmanuel Osho vs DJ Wilson
  • NFC GA Welterweight Championship – Robert Hale vs Tresean Gore
  • NFC GA Light Heavyweight Championship – Darian Perry vs Ose Abunaw
  • Chris Pullie vs Antwuan Mosley
  • Ivey Mewborn vs Brianna smith

Amateur MMA

  • Jesus Diaz vs Chris Arnold
  • Diego Bautista vs Menelik Milner
  • Michael Fortner vs Ankur Mathew
  • Brandon Garner vs Zane Wolf

Amateur Muay Thai

  • Nick Geoffrion vs Lewis Heald
  • Aldo Betancourt vs Htoo Lay
  • NFC Title Fight: Jahmar Whitehead vs Chase Boutwell

 

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