PRO MMA ( will be in Knoxville, Tennessee next weekend covering the Xtreme Fighting Championships as they hold their second show within the state and make their debut on national television.

XFC 8: REGIONAL CONFLICT takes place on April 25th at the Thompson-Boling Arena and will broadcast live exclusively on HDNet.

Among those fighting on the talent-filled card will be Tennessee’s very own MMA cult figure, Johnathan Ivey. Ivey is renowned for his unorthodox fighting style and bizarre cage tactics.

He will be facing 22-year-old, 265-pound heavyweight prospect Chris Barnett who holds a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was a high school state wrestling champion . In MMA, Barnett was undefeated as an amateur with a record of 7-0. This will be his pro debut.

Fight Finder has Johnathan Ivey’s professional record at 27-37. Chances are there are plenty of unregistered fights also in his background. 

“Don’t tell anyone, but before MMA was legalized here, I actually fought a couple of times in Tennessee, I knocked out Ricky Henry in 31 seconds back in 2006, and KO’d Joe Nameth in just eight seconds in 2001. Both times, the promoter ran the risk of being shut down by the police the day of the event. But this XFC show on April 25 – airing live on national TV from Knoxville – is something completely different. This show represents a golden ticket for me and my daughter Savannah. Imagine: national TV in my own backyard, with the home crowd cheering me to victory! I can’t wait! Savannah and me, we’ve both sacrificed so much to get here… and this might be my last chance to achieve greatness. ‘Cause I want to be known as much more than just an ‘Internet Sensation’ or a cult hero before my career is over.”

With well over sixty fights on his record and at only 32 years of age, Ivey is one of the most experienced heavyweights in the sport. Fighting professionally since 1998, he has been in the cage with such top names as Jeremy Horn, Dan Severn, Ben Rothwell, Ricco Rodriguez, Gan McGee, Travis Wiuff, Jake O’Brien, and Sam Hoger.

What really sets Ivey apart, makes him a crowd favorite, and has helped him become an underground cult phenomenon is his penchant for unorthodox moves and his self-described “crazy” fight tactics.

Plain and simple, Ivey is an entertainer. It is true, his record is not the best, but the one thing he has even some of the best fighters in the world never learn, is his ability to capture the imagination of the audience and hold their attention. Johnathan Ivey talks about the elbow that shook the world,

“Oh man, when I dropped my version of The Rock’s ‘People’s Elbow’ against an opponent, it didn’t even occur to me that the moment would live on forever. 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.”

Ivey will often make his walk to the cage dressed as various horror movie characters. He has walked in as Freddie Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, Michael Myers, and Leatherface.

Ivey is not just a horror fan though. He landed a textbook “Karate Kid” crane kick in a live fight against Ricco Rodriguez. Ivey said regarding the impromptu maneuver, “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!”

It is said that Ivey once even simulated a sex act over a bent over opponent in the cage and nearly started a riot. That is one move Miyagi probably would not be proud of.

However, it is not all fun and games for Ivey. He is a single Dad with full custody of his 5-year-old little girl, Savannah, and when it comes to providing for er future, he takes it very seriously,

“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.”

On April 25th Johnathan Ivey will not be going to work in a cubicle or office. He is a fighter and an entertainer. He goes to work inside a cage. He will sweat, punch, kick, wrestle and fight for every dollar he gets paid. It is what he does, who he is.

This will put food on his daughter’s table. It is an honest living; and when his little girl grows up, she will be proud of her dad. And for fun, if fans are lucky, they may get to see a giant elbow drop on April 25th just for the hell of it.

· Video of Ivey landing the “Karate Kid” crane-kick (at approx. the 15 second mark)

· Video of Ivey landing the “People’s Elbow” (at approx. the 4:40 mark)

Stay tuned to PRO MMA ( as we provide full exclusive coverage of XFC 8: REGIONAL CONFLICT. To learn more about the XFC, you can check out the XFC website at

By:  Jack Bratcher

One thought on “Tennessee MMA cult legend Johnathan Ivey fights at XFC 8 in Knoxville April 25th”
  1. Hey i met u last week at the cafe` thank you for the T-shirt (I Love it (:) I was also wondering if u were fighting ken Shamrock on the 16TH? If so i wish i could be there good luck and keep me updated.

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