The name John Gotti still rings bells throughout the country. And on Friday night John Gotti III, the 24-year-old grandson of the legendary Mafia Don, continues to build the house of respectability the Gotti family is now establishing in MMA. The grandson of an American legend is forging an empire of his own, cultivated with the same work ethic and sense of community that his grandfather left as part of a complicated, but impactful legacy.
John Gotti III debuted as an MMA fighter at the 3,500-seat Twin River Casino in Rhode Island against Johnny the Wild Child Adams and won with an emphatic performance, knocking out his opponent in under four minutes of the first round. Gotti, has been training for three years for this moment and is 5-1 in the New York amateur circuit. His debut was on grandfather John Gotti Sr.’s birthday, who died in prison in 2002.
The Shadow League spoke with Gotti, who proved that his mixed martial arts skills were no gimmick, and his Dad John Junior immediately following Gottis victory.
Im over the moon with joy, John Junior told The Shadow League immediately after the fight. I can finally sleep tonight. I can get a rest tonight.
An elated Junior was very proud of his son and says he looks forward to the future.
An entourage of 200 people from New York City, many from the Howard Beach community that the Gottis are synonymous with, made the trip to Rhode Island, many via chartered bus.
“I’m on cloud nine, I feel great, Gotti III told The Shadow League after his victory. In the background you could hear the fans shouting Gotti Gotti Gotti. This a big night for my family. I feel good. I expected to finish him early or wear him down by the later rounds.
Id like to thank all of the people who helped me prepare for this moment, Gotti III added. Derek Panza of Panza MMA, Bev Francis Powerhouse, Dr. Mike Camp and Anthony DAngelo.
Notions that John Gotti III was trying to ride his familys name to a reality show appearance and wasnt a dedicated MMA brawler have been dismissed in his first bout. Match promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr. added that although the fight could have been promoted more heavily had he used the Gotti name, he said the family “wanted no special attention.”
As his career picks up steam, the tabloids and social media mills are sure to rehash the criminal exploits of his iconic namesake. However, Gotti says that chapter of his familys legacy is a closed book and the future is one full of life and happiness and total legitimacy in the eyes of the law, yet still bonded in family, ambition and a tradition of being a fierce leader in the community and a champion on the mat, leaving no stone unturned when seeking greatness.