I met the kid the night Canelo fought Golovkin and I know, you are wondering, What is he like?
You know of his grandfather, if you are 15-105 years old, you know the name “John Gotti.”
The kid has the same name, and, as we all wonder, does he share other traits with “The Teflon Don,” the notorious Italian American who dominated the tabloids in NY enroute to becoming the best known anti-hero of this generation? The Gambino bossman died in 2002, after a prison stint, after the feds finally cornered the Queens-based icon.
In 1992, he was locked up and from then on, son John A. Gotti and all family had to visit him in prison to see him.
John Gotti III was born in 1993, but he reveres the man whose name is comparable to “Corleone” when we are talking those circles.
One of six kids born to John Junior Gotto and mom Kim, he will fight his debut on the pro MMA circuit on the day Grandpa would have been 77.
Oh, and by the way, Gotti III came off, to me, in my five minute chat with him, as humble, unassuming, no air of entitlement or chip on shoulder. He’s being guided by a good outfit, probably as good or better as one could choose considering his family legacy, that being Jimmy Burchfield and his CES crew in Rhode Island. They run MMA shows and boxing shows, the sweet science promotions for the last 25 years. Here is a release on the Gotti pro debut:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Oct. 18th, 2017) — When he used to rummage through his father’s boxing memorabilia as a child, or sit next to him on the couch years later watching mixed martial arts, John Gotti III had no idea he’d one day step through those cage doors himself, alone, face-to-face with every fighter’s biggest adversary.
The idea, at first, was to find a way to make up for lost time with his father after the elder Gotti returned home from prison in 2004, so the two would watch all the big fights together and even attend live shows in New Jersey, just a stone’s throw from their home in Oyster Bay, N.Y.
Only 11 years old at the time, Gotti III took an immediate liking to the raw, unfiltered drama of mixed martial arts — combat in its purest form, as he calls it.
Following a successful, three-year trial run on the New York amateur circuit, the 24-year-old Gotti III makes his long-awaited professional debut Friday, Oct. 27th, 2017on the preliminary card of “CES MMA 46” at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., joining forces with the hottest promotion in the northeast.
His father, John A. Gotti — nicknamed “Junior” — never envisioned his own son fighting professionally, but has since cast aside any reservations knowing this is more than just a passing interest for Gotti III, who has changed his life both in and out of the gym in anticipation of what he hopes is a long, successful career in a sport often unforgiving for young, up-and-comers.
“I think now as I have chosen this as a profession, although my father is proud of me, I think he regrets fostering my interest,” Gotti III said. “I don’t think he ever thought this would be the end result.
“What father wants to watch his son in this type of environment?”
Gotti III takes his pride in his craft. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He’s not a partier. He briefly boxed as a child, but eventually segued into more traditional team sports before falling in love with MMA. He even tried a stint at bodybuilding, walking around at a heavily-muscled 250 pounds before settling into a more comfortable lifestyle in the welterweight division, where he’ll face Johnny Adams (0-1) of Rutland, Vt., on the 27th.
Naturally, Gotti III faces more than just the opponent standing across from him once the bell rings. He’s a naturally-gifted 24-year-old amateur standout about to enter his prime while looking to carve his own legacy under the shadow of the Gotti name.
There’s a certain pressure that comes with such a distinction — not to mention the fact Oct. 27th is the birthdate of his late grandfather, John Gotti, which is part of the reason he chose to fight on this date — but Gotti III is polished, wise beyond his years, and has cautiously climbed the ladder in anticipation of this day, from working more on his jiu-jitsu in recent months to hiring a strength coach. His last amateur fight was in February, so this will be the first time he steps back into the cage in six months with the hope that all the extra preparation and attention to detail will pay dividends on the 27th.
“I’m excited to be doing something I love,” Gotti III said. “For me to possibly move forward and see what I’m capable of achieving, I need to be tested by the likes of Adams.”
Choosing CES MMA as the destination for his first pro fight made perfect sense for Gotti III. The promotion is in its fourth year with AXS TV as its broadcast partner (the main card of “CES MMA 46” airs on the network beginning at 9 p.m. ET on the 27th) and has a reputation for paving a path to the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) for several prominent fighters, among them Rob Font, Andre Soukhamthath and Charles Rosa.
“I know several fighters who had fought for them and they said they were good guys to work with and they put on a great show,” Gotti III said. “It was a natural.”
The main event of “CES MMA 46” features the return of former CES MMA Middleweight World Champion “Doomsday” John Howard (24-13, 9 KOs) of Boston, who faces submission specialist Roger Carroll (16-14) of Claremont, N.C.
“CES MMA 46” also features the return of rising welterweight prospect Gary Balletto Jr. (4-1, 2 KOs) of Cranston, R.I., who battles Philadelphia’s Sharif Jones (3-2, 1 KO), plus the return of East Providence, R.I., bantamweight Dinis Paiva (9-6, 5 KOs), who faces Pennsylvania vet Brandon Seyler (7-5, 1 KO), both of whom will be fighting on the televised main card.
Also on the main card, lightweight Josh LaBerge (11-6, 5 KOs) of Fall River, Mass., returns to face Jonathan Lemke (6-8, 5 KOs) of Auburn, Maine, and bantamweight Rico DiSciullo (7-1, 3 KOs) of Peabody, Mass., faces Justin King (6-5) of Lawrence, Ind. Justin Sumter (3-1, 2 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., returns in a lightweight bout against Rahway, N.J., vet Shedrick Goodridge (6-9, 2 KOs).
Also returning Oct. 27th, Providence featherweight Marquis Brewster (3-0) battles Raymond Yanez (4-11, 1 KO) of Marion, Ohio, on the preliminary, where joining featherweight Pat McCrohan (2-1, 1 KO) of Berkley, Mass., who faces Buck Pineau(1-3) of Ashland, Maine. New Bedford bantamweight Jessie Pires makes his professional debut in the prelims against Syracuse, N.Y., newcomer Michael Taylor.