Heavyweight brawler Kimbo Slice isn’t the only Internet sensation in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
“Oh, man – when I dropped my version of The Rock’s ‘People’s Elbow’ on heavyweight fighter Joe Nameth in New Orleans, it didn’t even occur to me that the moment would live on forever,” mused Johnathan Ivey from his Tennessee MMA training camp. “It was just something silly I did to entertain the crowd. But that clip has been circulating all over the World Wide Web, landing on YouTube and countless other websites. In fact, someone once told me that my impromptu elbow drop has been viewed by over half-a-million MMA fans on six different continents, including Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe – and I’ve received interview requests from journalists all over the globe. Isn’t that crazy?”
Some might consider Ivey’s unique repertoire of unusual MMA moves pretty crazy as well.
“In my last fight – against Ricco Rodriguez in Houston, Texas – I believe I became the first fighter in MMA history to successfully land the ‘Karate Kid’ crane-kick in a live bout,” said Ivey. “That’ll probably be popping up on the Internet before too long as well. It sure as hell took my opponent by surprise, I guarantee you that! Mr. Miyagi would’ve been proud of me. Wax on, wax off, baby!”
Johnathan Ivey is a study in contradictions; on one hand, he’s a hard-hitting MMA veteran of over 60 professional fights who’s battled the likes of Dan Severn, Ben Rothwell and Jeremy Horn, and yearns to be taken seriously as a legitimate heavyweight title contender. But on the other hand, he also walks to the cage dressed as various horror movie monsters (“I’ve been Freddie Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, Michael Myers and Leatherface.”) and once created a near-riot when he simulated a sex act over a bent-over opponent. But there’s one aspect of Ivey’s life that turns this unorthodox cage fighter deadly serious: His four-year-old daughter Savannah, and his battle to keep her out of poverty.
“I’m a single Dad with 100% full custody of my little girl – and she’s my entire reason for living,” Ivey whispered, his tone instantly transformed from playful to solemn. “She’s with me 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year. Me and her are tag-team partners for life… and we wouldn’t want it any other way. See, I know some people think that standing inside an MMA cage and trading bombs with a heavyweight warrior is scary stuff. But that ain’t nothin’. What’s truly scary is contemplating a future where Savannah is trapped in poverty, stuck in a minimum wage hell for the rest of her life. These kinds of thoughts chill my soul… and at least once a week, I wake up in the dead of night, imagining a world that robs her of her happiness and childhood innocence. As God is my witness, I will never – ever – let that happen. You just don’t understand the rage a single father feels when he knows that the only thing standing in the way of a better life for his baby girl is that opponent standing before him. It makes you want to just smash his skull in.”
Ivey’s next opponent is the six-foot, ten-inch Gan “The Giant” McGee on September 13, 2008 at Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)’s “Salute to Our Armed Forces V” mega-event at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. This will be McGee’s first fight in four years; when “The Giant” last competed on American soil, he lost a controversial bout against Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight title on Pay-Per-View. Johnathan Ivey will be at a 13-inch size disadvantage and a decided underdog – but the “accidental” Internet sensation fully expects to play David to McGee’s Goliath.
“I’ve battled big men in the past,” Ivey stated, flatly dismissing the size disparity. “‘Dirty’ Harry Moskowitz is a six-foot, five-inch, 275-pound behemoth who fought on UFC 15 and UFC 17 – and I made him submit in the first round. Yeah, I know it’s easy to dismiss me because my professional record is 27 and 34. But my record doesn’t tell you that I took my first professional fight just two days after stepping inside an MMA gym for the very first time. It doesn’t tell you that I lost seven of my first ten fights, mainly because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. It doesn’t tell you that I fought 19 times in just one year to gain much-needed experience – and to keep my family off food stamps. It doesn’t tell you that I traveled over and over again to my opponents’ hometowns – and lost some outrageous decisions to corrupt local judges. And it doesn’t tell you that since 2005, my record is 11 and four. See, I’m not one of those trust fund babies whose parents provided private karate lessons ever since they were in grade school. I’m a blue collar street brawler who stumbled across MMA, fell in love with the sport, and had to do everything the hard way. But now’s my moment to shine – my last opportunity to create an indelible legacy that my little girl will always be proud of. After I chop down ‘The Giant,’ everyone will know the name of Johnathan Ivey… not because of the ‘People’s Elbow’ or something like that, but because I’m now a legitimate top-ten MMA heavyweight. And believe me, there ain’t gonna be nothin’ ‘accidental’ about it.”
Ivey’s prediction for XFC’s “Salute to Our Armed Forces V” in Tampa is simple: “No disrespect to anyone, but I’m gonna win and Gan is gonna wish he stayed retired.” Then, a broad smile stretched across Ivey’s face: “And incidentally, doesn’t Hulk Hogan live in Tampa? I know he’s been to other XFC events in the past, so hopefully he’ll be sitting ringside for my fight. And maybe as a special tribute to the Hulkster, after I blast McGee off his feet, I’ll level him with a leg drop! Yeah – I bet that’ll look pretty cool on YouTube, too!”
Here’s a link to Ivey’s famous “People’s Elbow”: http://www.mmaxfc.com/videos.html