Mixed Martial Artist from Choctaw, Oklahoma Will Realize his Dream to Fight in Front of Hometown Crowd
It’s a dream come true, Oklahoma Professional Mixed Martial Artist Justin Christie will finally fight in front of a hometown crowd for Rage in the Cage OKC MMA Promotion Saturday, March 22, 2014 at The Chameleon Room located at 3034 N. Portland in Oklahoma City. “I was never the hometown guy, so I’ve always been booed. I lived in Tennessee when I started my MMA career and MMA fighting was illegal in Tennessee so I had to go out of state to fight,” said Christie.
He took the upcoming fight on short notice after a fighter dropped off the card. “I haven’t been training and coming off an injury so that part is scary,” he said. Just under three years ago an injury not only put Christie’s MMA career on hold, but nearly took his life. “I tore my groin ligament and in the healing process I was not supposed to move around a lot and I was trying to keep myself stationary when all of a sudden my knee started swelling, then my foot. I finally went to see a doctor and was told I had developed deep ventricular thrombosis in my knee and had I not come in when I did I would have been dead,” said Christie. “This fight will be my stamp saying to this injury that I beat you.”
Another setback in his career came back in 2013 when two MMA gyms he opened in Choctaw, Okla. shut down. Choctaw Mixed Martial Arts Academy and Death or Glory Mixed Martial Arts (DOG MMA) were both small gyms with little equipment, but Christie was devastated when financial difficulties forced him to close the gyms. “It really doesn’t matter the size of the gym, it’s the heart on the mat that counts,” said Christie.
He is a 3rd generation wrestler; his father began training him in the sport at the age of three. Many of his crowning achievements came on the mat, but the one he’s most proud of came when entering a small town high school in Tennessee as a Freshman only to discover the school didn’t have a wrestling team. “I chartered a team for that school. I got a petition, talked an elementary school teacher into being a high school coach and went in front of the school board to get it approved and luckily it worked,” said Christie. “We didn’t even have a wrestling mat; we practiced on the tile floors in the school cafeteria. We did a chocolate bar fundraiser, car washes and anything else we could to raise money to buy a used dilapidated mat. “
Recently Christie discovered the wrestling program at the school is still thriving, the team now has their own wrestling room, three coaches and several of the students have gone on to college with wrestling scholarships. “This taught me that it’s not the things you do in life but the legacy you leave behind that you will be remembered for. The positive impact I had there was one of my best achievements in life,” he said.
Also in high school Christie had the opportunity to try out for the United States Olympic Karate Team but he almost didn’t make it to the tryouts. “They were in Kentucky and I was supposed to carpool there with several guys, they decided to skip out on tryouts to play paintball and at the last minute my dad was able to take off work and drive me there,” said Christie. “I messed up my knee at the tournament and didn’t make it on the team but the guy I lost to ended up winning Gold in Austria in 2002.”
Christie’s first pro win actually came as a big surprise to everyone, including him. “I was fighting Ronnie Stackhouse in Alexandria, Louisiana. During his walk-out he looked like a beast and did a Van Damme looking kick and the crowd busted out in applause and then when I walked out the crowd laughed because there I was not the body builder type and looking out of shape,” said Christie. “In the first round we both went for a punch and hit each other at the exact same time, he knocked me on my butt, I got up but he was unconscious. I hit him one more time before the referee stopped it and the crowd was in shock, even I was in shock.”
One of his favorite memories was when he was fighting Matt Winklejohn who had a long pony tail and his hair got into Christie’s mouth. “I started gagging and my mouth piece come out and landed on his shoulder. I went to unlock my arm to reach for my mouth piece and he used that as an opportunity to start punching me on the top of my head and I got tired of getting hit in the head and so I threw an overhand right punch and toppled him. I followed it up with a flurry of punches until the referee stopped the fight,” he said. A moment Christie was able to savor until taking his victory lap. “The referee told me to take a victory lap and I jumped up on top of the cage and my toe got stuck in the chain link and I ended up breaking my toe.”
Christie is hoping despite a lack of training, his comeback will enable yet another victory lap as he takes on Dee Burchfield, Saturday March 22, 2014 at The Chameleon Room, 3034 N. Portland in Oklahoma City. Fights begin at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at www.ticketstorm.com, Charlie’s Sports Bar in Choctaw or at any metro Party Galaxy location.
Fighter Name: Justin “Cool Breeze” Christie
MMA Record (pro): 1-9-0
Hometown: Choctaw, OK
GYM/Where you train from: Death or Glory MMA