John Dixson is a pioneer.
Dixson, 43, can remember the “dark” days when nearly anything went in Mixed Martial Arts.
Bare knuckles, groin shots, elbows, no time-limit matches — you name it and Dixson probably has seen it and dished it out in more than 13 years of competition around the world.
Looking back to the origins of MMA, Dixson is surprised the sport has grown so quickly in a relatively short amount of time.
These days, the former kickboxer is still active as a professional fighter. He also works as an instructor and as a trainer at Dixson”s Dungeon, a MMA training headquarters in Biloxi.
On Saturday, GameTime Sports and Relentless Grappling and MMA will welcome Dixson to GameTime Sports in Columbus to conduct a MMA seminar.
Dixson has fought in 37 professional bouts around the world for the past 10 years. He has fought some of the best fighters in MMA, including Jeremy Horn, Dan Severn, and Justin Eilers.
Dixon holds a black belt in Sambo, Judo, and kick boxing. He also has experience in training with Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai.
The seminar will be from noon to 4 p.m. for ages 15 and older. Dixson will cover all aspects of MMA.
Participants should wear gym shorts and T-shirts. The cost is $55.
Dixson enjoys the changes that have come to MMA. He said the establishment of fighting rules have helped the sport gain widespread appeal, and not just among adults.
“I have seen MMA grow a lot, and I see schools popping up now and people looking for them now,” Dixson said. “I notice more people are learning how to fight, how to get in shape, and how to train.”
Dixson believed MMA would get as big as it is today, and he is doing his part to help younger participants get involved. He said his goal is to teach the honor and integrity of the martial arts, which are the foundation to MMA.
Dixson said he encourages people to get involved with MMA because it teaches respect and discipline and gives anyone the ability to defend themself. He said the techniques aren”t taught to make someone into a bully or a fighter. Instead, he said hopes his students never have to use what they learn and that they never will fight or become boastful because of what they know.
Dixson said the seminar Saturday will be an ideal way for people who have heard about or read about MMA to see it is more than what they might have seen on a pay-per-view event.
“We”re trying to branch out,” said Dixson, who has traveled to Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and other states to teach MMA. “A lot of places don”t have much MMA and our goal is to show them how it has grown, the techniques, and to try to help them get started.”
Dixson has competed in Poland, Brazil, Japan, Holland, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia, Denmark, and the Czech Republic, to name just a handful of his stops. He said MMA is much bigger in Europe and that people are more apt to recognize him when he travels there.
Things are different in the United States, but Dixson hopes he can help change that and get more people involved in MMA.
“It is a blessing that people want to learn it now,” Dixson said.
GameTime Sports is a climate-controlled training facility at 208 Conway Drive, Columbus, MS 39702.
For more information, call Brian Hollis at 662-386-3467 or Mike Veasey at 251-406-1388.
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.