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MMA Fighter Dodson: I Was Bullied at Moriarty

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He endured being tormented in high school in Moriarty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Being the new kid in school is always tough.

For John Dodson, being small and biracial made it that much tougher.

Tonight in Chicago, Dodson, a Moriarty High School graduate, challenges Demetrious Johnson for the latter’s UFC flyweight (125-pound) title. The fight will be telecast on Fox.

Today
UFC, United Center, Chicago: John Dodson vs. Demetrious Johnson for Johnson’s flyweight title, several other fights. TV: FX, 3-6 p.m.; Fox, 6-8 p.m.

Dodson has been a mixed-martial arts fighter for some nine years, but he learned to defend himself long before that.

Recently, Dodson partnered with BullyVille, an anti-bullying website. At Friday’s weigh-in, he walked onto the stage wearing a BullyVille shirt.

On bullyville.com, and in a recent article on SI.com (Sports Illustrated), he talked about the bullying he encountered when he, his single mother and his younger brother moved from Albuquerque to Moriarty when John was a teenager.

On one occasion, he says, he was lassoed from behind, hogtied and left on the floor in a classroom. He says that with some regularity he was “trash-canned” and bombarded with paintballs.

“The first semester (at Moriarty) was the worst semester of my life,” Dodson told SI.com’s Melissa Segura.

But Dodson tells bullyville.com that he won over his tormenters simply by being himself – a champion wrestler and a determined, yet positive, individual.

“Each day I continued to be the same person, always cautious and focused,” he says. “No matter what they tried to do, they couldn’t break me down.

“Sure enough, when wrestling season came around, they saw the real me. But they also noticed that I never changed who I was as a person. I stayed the same. … I could have chosen to hate them but there is one rule I’ll always live by – stay true to who you are and never let them get under your skin.”

HARDSCRABBLE YOUTH: Johnson, Dodson’s opponent tonight, had his own demons to fight as a kid. He has related growing up poor in the state of Washington, living with his deaf mother and a stepfather who beat him before his mother broke off that relationship.

“For me, my upbringing is part of life,” Johnson told the website Big Pond Sport. “I’m not ashamed of it. I’m just proud that I came out OK, and I’m doing well with my life now.”

WEIGH-INS: Dodson weighed in Friday at 124 pounds (with a bag of Pop Rocks hanging from his mouth). Johnson weighed 125.

In other bouts involving Albuquerque-based, Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA fighters:

♦ Donald Cerrone, 155 pounds; his opponent, Anthony Pettis, 155.

♦ Clay Guida, 146; his opponent, Hatsu Hioki, 145.

♦ Shawn Jordan, 251; his opponent, Mike Russow, 256.

TUCKER WINS: Albuquerque featherweight Hunter Tucker (5-0) defeated Javier Obregon by second-round submission (guillotine choke) Thursday night on a Bellator card in Thackerville, Okla. Obregon, of Fort Worth, is 4-4.

BOXING: Norwegian welterweight Cecilia Braekhus announced she’ll fight American Mia St. John in Denmark on April 13, putting up a possible roadblock in the path to a bout between Braekhus and Albuquerque’s Holly Holm.

The World Boxing Council has mandated a fight between Holm (32-2-3, nine knockouts) and Braekhus (21-0, five KOs) for the latter’s WBC 147-pound title. Unless the two women’s promoters can come to agreement on their own, the fight will go to a purse bid Feb. 15. Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s promoter, said talks with Kalle Sauerland, Braekhus’ promoter, have not been promising.

Fresquez said Friday that news of the Braekhus-St. John match took him by surprise. He said he has not heard from the WBC.

Normally, if a fight goes to purse bid, the winning promoter has 90 days to put on the fight – meaning Holm-Braekhus should happen on or before May 15.
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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