Demetrious Johnson has been referred to as one in every of, if not the best, pound-for-pound blended martial arts champions of all time. Final week, he re-captured the ONE Flyweight Championship in Singapore in a battle stay streamed on Amazon Prime Video — in one more big sports partnership for the tech large.
When he’s not preventing, Johnson is battling on-line as a well-regarded gamer on the Twitch streaming platform.
Each pursuits have netted Johnson, of Parkland, Wash., a big and dependable following. And his fame has additionally attracted curiosity from Seattle-area tech corporations who need to get within the ring with the man often known as Mighty Mouse.
“Tech is the long run,” Johnson instructed GeekWire. “They’re at all times seeking to clear up issues, at all times seeking to create new issues that make life simpler.”
Johnson serves on an advisory board for Bellevue, Wash.-based Zeacon. The 4-year-old startup pivoted in the course of the pandemic and now gives a platform to create interactive movies on a decentralized community to assist creators and types have interaction and monetize audiences.
Zeacon founder and CEO Kris Naidu mentioned Johnson is well-versed in tech and gaming, with 10 years of expertise creating video content material.
“He’s an skilled within the live-streaming world and is aware of precisely what different content material creators need in a video platform,” Naidu mentioned. “DJ has been offering invaluable suggestions on totally different facets of the Zeacon platform.”
Redmond, Wash.-based Portable Consultants views Johnson the identical approach.
Johnson is an investor within the younger enterprise startup, which gives companies with information and voice providers. Founder and CEO Rick Crabbe bought to know him whereas coaching on the similar MMA gymnasium. He referred to as Johnson one of the crucial disciplined and humble individuals he’s ever met.
“What attracted us to DJ is his character and public picture,” Crabbe mentioned. “What firm couldn’t study a couple of issues from somebody like that? We consider that having DJ as an investor helps validate our dedication as an organization to be the very best at what we do, whereas carrying ourselves with integrity.”
We caught up with Johnson to speak about how he bought into MMA, his love for gaming and streaming and extra. Our Q&A has been edited for size and readability.
GeekWire: We have fun geeks of all persuasions and we use geek as an endearing time period. Is it OK to name an MMA fighter a geek?
Demetrious Johnson: “Completely. I name myself a nerd. My spouse calls me a nerd. You’ll be able to name me a nerd, geek, no matter phrase you need to use.”
What’s your background / connection to Washington state?
“I used to be born in Kentucky and my mother’s final husband was stationed in Fort Lewis, in order that’s once we bought home-based in Parkland. From second grade all the way in which till now, I’ve been down south — Tacoma, Parkland, Puyallup space. I simply by no means appear to need to transfer away to a unique state and I’ve by no means needed to maneuver out of the south. Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, it’s all beautiful up there, however it’s approach too f***ing costly for the home you get.”
When did you get into your sport?
“I did a number of sports activities rising up — basketball, wrestling, observe, cross nation — and the game that bought me into blended martial arts was wrestling. I really like the way it was simply 1 v 1, any individual your dimension and nothing no one else can do. For those who lose you return house, you have a look at your self within the mirror and the one particular person you must blame is your self. Once I bought out of highschool, there was nothing else for me to do sports activities sensible. I noticed ‘The Final Fighter,’ I noticed Rashad Evans working a bag, hitting it, and the following factor I simply went to the gymnasium, began hitting the bag and Reese Andy noticed me and he goes, ‘Hey, you need to discover ways to battle?’ and I used to be like, ‘Positive, why not.’ The remaining is historical past. That’s how I fell into it.”
Do you employ tech in any approach to enhance your battle recreation?
“I’ve a factor referred to as the Oura Ring. I like it as a result of it tracks my sleep and it lets me understand how a lot sleep I’m getting. It tells me when is the very best time for me to fall asleep and I attempt to hit that mark as shut as doable. It additionally counts what number of energy I burned in a day and retains observe of my exercises.”
You’re a giant Twitch streamer. Inform us about your curiosity in gaming.
“Twitch is one thing I like to do. It’s one other approach for me to attach with the followers on a unique stage. I don’t think I’ll do it as a full-time career as a result of that’s simply approach an excessive amount of work and the pay is up and down. My favourite recreation was the ‘Mega Man X’ sequence. That’s what truly bought me into streaming on Twitch. Now I play a bit bit the whole lot — first-person shooters, RPGs RTSs.
“There’s a recreation I’ve been enjoying so much referred to as ‘The Cycle: Frontier.’ They’ve a model new wipe popping out — they wipe all people’s stash and something they’ve collected over the past three months and all people begins recent. It goes stay Sept. 28.”
Is there something from gaming that you just take to the ring?
“Simply distance. That’s the most important one. There’s a preventing recreation referred to as ‘Street Fighter V’ and there’s frames and distance that you must management — you’ve bought to place your character in the suitable spot.”
What’s subsequent for you in your profession and in tech?
“I’m gonna get wholesome, get again within the gymnasium, proceed to study and prepare for no matter’s subsequent within the blended martial arts world. So far as investing, I wish to take my time to see what arises. I believe the following entrance is the well being and wellness sector. We’ll see if I’ve some other alternatives over time to put money into different tech corporations.”
Editor’s observe: This story has been up to date to appropriate the spelling of Johnson’s first identify.