Corporate Fight Night, founded by Women’s Boxing HOFer Terri “The Boss” Moss, hosts high-end white collar charity boxing shows in the Atlanta area. Founded in 2010, CFN prides itself on creating “black-tie black-eye affairs”, matching white-collar corporate folks (with fight aspirations) together inside the ring; usually for a good charity. The organization looks for individuals that aspire to rise up through the corporate ladder while at the same time raising their fists inside the square circle.
On October 21st, at the Georgia Aquarium, CFN hosts its twelfth show, the first of which that will have mixed martial arts included. The charity chosen for CFN 12 will be Charity: Water, an organization that provides water and water systems for those individuals and communities in need.
So, why should YOU go to CFN 12? Here are five reasons.
1) Whole Lotta Fights – If you want to see an event that will be NON-STOP fights. Look no further. CFN 12 has a fight card that includes nineteen total fights. 12 boxing, 5 MMA (including the main event), 1 kickboxing, and 1 muay thai. This card is a fight fan’s dream! Doors open at 5pm (first bell at 6pm). Get there early if you want to see most of the MMA action. Full fight card is here.
2) MMA Graces The Ring – For the first time ever at a Corporate Fight Night event, mixed martial arts will be included. Even better, the main event will be MMA scrap, between Vee “OG” Johnson and Rakim Thorpe.
3) All Walks Of Life – Executive Chefs, Music Industry Execs, Teachers, Skydivers, IT Professionals, and Engineers are just some of the careers of the fighters on Friday’s CFN 12 card. And many of these wanna-be pugilists are making their amateur debuts! It will be interesting to see what these white-collar professionals are made of and which particular career-types have the most success inside the ring. Who’s your pick?
4) Hooters Ring Card Girls – Do I really need to say anything else here?
5) Captain Jack Sparrow? – From CorporateFightNight.com’s website. “ACFN12 fans will be entertained with a swashbuckling appearance by the most famous pirate of them all, Captain Jack Sparrow! Pose with Captain Jack for cool photo op, hear about his wild and daring adventures at sea or share a rum toast to support your favorite competitor! Sparrow appears in the form of of Atlanta based actor Jason Walker, who is the spitting image of actor Johnny Depp, and Atlanta’s best and most sought after Depp impersonator.”
Get your tickets ASAP here. If you don’t get them online today, you’ll have to get them at the door (and the price will go up)!
AtlantaFights.com will be covering the weigh-ins (taking place at the Hard Rock Downtown (Velvet Underground) on Thursday and the actual fight on Friday evening (providing live updates throughout).
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,
“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,
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.”
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
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!”
Gregg “The Brick” Brickman, is the Executive Chef and Director of Product Development for Hooters of America, based in Atlanta. Gregg graduated from Johnson and Wales University and has
helped to lead the menu development efforts for the Hooters brand for the last several years, including their most recent creation, smoked wings.
When he’s not delighting the taste buds of Hooters’ guests, he’s training to smoke his opponents in the ring. The 45-year old chef will temporarily be hanging up his oven mitts for a pair of boxing gloves to participate in the upcoming Corporate Fight Night (CFN) event to be held at the Georgia Aquarium, here in Atlanta. Training since January of 2016, “The Brick” will be taking on Ed McAlexander in a heavyweight bout on October 21 at CFN 12. More info about the event can be found here.
(UPDATED: Brickman vs McAlexander has been promoted to the Co-Main Event of the night)
When most people want to get into shape, they pick up running, start going to the gym, or latch on to the latest diet craze. Well that’s just a little too “blah” for the Hooters head chef. “I started boxing because I was bored with all the other stuff.” said “The Brick” in a recent interview with AtlantaFights.com. “I would start working out and then three weeks later I would find an excuse not to go and it just was never exciting. It wasn’t fun. I competed in high school – I was a wrestler – so I remember really enjoying wrestling, and I thought I’d try my hand at boxing or something else. So I went to Buckhead Fight Club, started boxing, and I got talked into doing the fight.”
It’s hard to imagine that there are any parallels between developing tasty menu items at an iconic casual dining brand and attempting to do harm inside the square circle, but Brickman begs to differ. “Certainly there are [parallels], working on the [Cooks] line and how tough it is and trying to keep up with stamina and realizing you can’t fall or quit the first time you get burnt or the first time you get
punched.” Brickman explains. “There are similarities. It’s going to happen. You’re going to get hit. You’ve got to press forward no matter what. You’re going to press forward. And I like it because just like with cooking, it’s all on you. In boxing, if something goes wrong, you can’t blame anybody else. It’s all on you.”
Brickman’s a pretty friendly guy at the office according to his peers and amongst his colleagues in the industry, but it’s clear he’s got his game face on in preparation for his fight against Ed “The Rainmaker” McAlexander. When asked what he thought about “The Rainmaker”, Brickman said “I don’t. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. We talked a few times. I’m trying – until after our fight, I really don’t want to think anything about him. I’m purposely trying not to get too personal with him, just so I go into it not having any feelings and being okay with punching him in the face.”
So far “The Brick” is keeping his strategy pretty simple in his debut. Or is he keeping his strategy under wraps? Who knows. But here’s what he says about his upcoming tactics. “You know, it’s hard to set up strategy when you don’t know how he’s fighting and it’s not like both of us have been fighting for years,” Brickman says. “We’re probably both just going to be really happy to get past the second round. I think the biggest thing for me is to pace myself and to make sure that I breathe [chuckles]. You know, I just can’t forget to breathe. I think he’s a little bit smaller than I am, and I think I’ll have the reach on him. I think I’ll have the power on him. And I’m just going to go in and see how it goes.”
The corporate chef has loved his experience training for this fight over the last year, but he isn’t shy about how he feels about his trainer, Terri Moss, who is also the promoter for CFN, the owner of Buckhead Fight Club, and a member of the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame. “Working out at Buckhead Fight Club is great,” Brickman explains. “Working out with Terri, she’s evil [chuckles], and it has been challenging. Everybody that I train with there, it’s a great workout. I enjoy it very much.”
What do you say when a member of your family decides all of a sudden, later in their career to begin prize fighting? At the Brickman household it’s been a pretty positive experience, but they are ready for him to quit coming home looking as if he just got jumped in an alleyway. “They are happy that I’m doing something that I like,” Brickman said happily. “They’re looking forward to it being over so I can spend more time with them at home. And they’re tired of me coming home with black eyes. I’ve gotten very, very good at catching punches with my face. I can catch them better than anybody.”
Being the culinary “wizard” at Hooters, and an important face in their menu development programs, you’d think the iconic brand would be a little leery of Brickman jumping into the ring, but it’s quite the contrary. “They think it’s pretty cool, although I don’t think they understand why at 45 somebody would start boxing,” Brickman explains.
Brickman is a pretty funny guy and always tries to keep things light even in thanking those that have supported him over the last year as he attempts to achieve his boxing goals. When asked who he wanted to thank, Brickman said “Just the Academy and everybody at Buckhead Fight Club and everybody here at work who’s encouraged me and obviously my wife and kids who– actually, oddly enough my kids think it’s great that I’m getting punched. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.” Sounds like his kiddos are looking for a little pay back.
On October 21st, the public will officially get an opportunity to smell what the chef has cooking, at least in the ring. And luckily, he’s fighting a person in the finance industry and not another chef, because you know the old adage about too many cooks.
Learn more about the main event fighter V. Anthony Johnson next week on AtlantaFights.com.
Want to know more about some of the brave corporate pugilists fighting at Corporate Fight Night (CFN) 12? Well you’re in luck. Over the next couple weeks Atlanta Fights will be profiling some of the fighters on the stacked CFN 12 fight card that takes place on October 21 at the Georgia Aquarium. The event will showcase the best in amateur boxing, muay thai, and MMA.
Today’s profile is of Ed McAlexander, whose career in financial staffing couldn’t be ANY more different than punching people in the face. “The Rain Maker” makes his amateur boxing debut against Gregg “The Brick” Brickman, who is also debuting as an amateur.
Here’s 10 questions with Ed “The Rain Maker” McAlexander
AtlantaFights.com: What do you do for a living?
McAlexander: I have my own staffing company. I place accounting and finance professionals both on a permanent and contract basis. So, I’ve been self-employed for almost 12 and a half years now – since I was 29.
AtlantaFights.com: Why did you decide to jump into the ring?
McAlexander: I guess I’ve always been a fan of boxing. And of course anybody our age, I’m 41, so of course when I was 10 years old it was Rocky IV, Ivan Drago, and Rocky Balboa fighting in Moscow. That made an impression on me. That was always intriguing. And I guess at 10 years old I was like, oh, yeah, I’d love to find the time to get in the boxing ring. But I don’t know, boxing wasn’t as big to the youth back then. I was into football, basketball, whatever. And of course trying to get that diploma and getting my grades; being the son of two professors, they do not quit stressing academics and grades. So, I guess a few years ago I started taking boxing lessons, but I sparred for the first time about a month or so ago and that was interesting or sure. Definitely different when you’re getting hit.
AtlantaFights.com: What sort of experience in the ring do you have? Have you had other fights?
McAlexander: I wish I did. I wish I did. This is my first one. This will be my debut.
AtlantaFights.com: What do your employees think of what you’re doing?
McAlexander: [chuckles] They’re interested. They’re intrigued. Both my employees are part-time. One of them is one of my best friend’s daughters, and the other one is one of my best friend’s wife. So, they’re intrigued and they are very supportive and will be going to the event and all that good stuff.
AtlantaFights.com: What does your family think about you jumping into the ring?
McAlexander:My mom is not going to the fight. Dad will go to the fight because we have some family members coming in from Mississippi. You know how mothers are. They don’t want to see people get hurt.
AtlantaFights.com:Now that you’ve got a month under your belt as far as some sparring, what do you consider your fighting style? Are you a counter-puncher? Are you the aggressor? What do you consider the style that is the most natural to you so far?
McAlexander:That’s a great question. I’m just such a novice. I don’t know if I can really pinpoint one strategy or the other. I know Gregg (Brickman) has got me by three or four inches on the height, so I’m definitely not going to have the reach here. [chuckles] Yeah, no that’s an intriguing question, maybe as my skill set gets better and– if I can get the “W” against Gregg and then participate next year, I might be able to answer that better. This being the first fight, it’s tough to answer that, it could be all of the above [laughter].
AtlantaFights.com:Do you have multiple trainers or do you have just one person that’s helping you out? Are they focusing on the fundamentals or some specific– some technique for you?
McAlexander:A little bit of both. I do have a few trainers, but I guess the main trainer is, Delgado Boxing with Jerrid Burke, my trainer there. I have another trainer that has a taekwondo gym, and I’ve known him since I was nine years old, so I trained with him a little bit – he’s decent with his hands, but, of course, the main gym, here, that is in the discussion is Delgado Boxing.
AtlantaFights.com: What do you make of your opponent? You talked about Gregg (Brickman) a little bit regarding his height or reach, anything else stands out for you, when it comes to Gregg?
McAlexander:I’ve heard from a lot of people that he’s a nice guy. Ironically, one of my top clients– he works with one of my top clients – a client of mine in the past. He called me the other day and said, “Hey, are you fighting Brickman?” And I said yes, and he said Gregg is a real nice guy, etc.
Obviously, Terry (Moss – owner of Buckhead Fight Club) said that Gregg is an extremely nice guy. And he and I talked a little bit at the photo shoot and at the press conference. And obviously, their words have seemed to come to fruition. He seems like a good guy. He seems like he’s focused on this to– I guess, maybe in the beginning it was to lose weight, and I think he told me he’s lost about 30 pounds so far. So, I think you can never take your opponent lightly. Boxing or MMA fighting is very hard to predict, so I need to train for this like I’m a 20 to 25:1 underdog. That’s my approach.
AtlantaFights.com:Are you going to have a strategy for Gregg?
McAlexander:I think there can be a few different strategies. One thing that– and I know Gregg might kick himself after this, but I mean, yeah, like when we were– I was standing next to Gregg for a long time at that photo shoot and I was like, “Gregg, how tall are you?” And he would tell me 6’3 to 6’4 and I was like, okay, I’m not going to have to reach here. That might deter our strategy, our opening strategy, a little bit knowing that he’s a pretty tall guy and he’s going to have to reach on me. I think there could be a few strategies and then as you know, in sports there’s always adjustments. Of course in this case there could be adjustments between rounds, etc.
AtlantaFights.com:What should fans expect out of you on October 21st?
McAlexander: [chuckles] Some of you are going to drive a long way. Obviously, they want the “W”. Obviously I want the “W”. Obviously Gregg wants the “W”, but it is just so– boxing like I said before is so hard to predict and I’m not going to be taking him lightly. He’s a big guy. He’s a big guy and has the reach on me. Like I’ve said before, I know his character is top-notch according to our mutual friend. But I’m going to train for this like I’m a 20:1 underdog. I think that’s the only way to train for it. Because if you flip the script and go the other way, then getting over-confident, that’s never good.
Come back next week to learn a little bit more about, McAlexander’s opponent, Gregg “The Brick” Brickman
Learn more about the event or purchase tickets by going HERE.