DEMETRIOUS “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s authority in martial arts has been well-documented. But not many know that the greatest mixed martial arts World Champion grew up in a house with an abusive stepfather.
Johnson, however, did not let it prevent him from achieving greatness, as he perceived it as a positive moment in life.
“I have no ill-will, no bad feelings whatsoever, about that whole experience growing up, but I’m taking a different route with my children,” the 33-year-old athlete shared.
“I can look at it as a hindrance, and I can look at it as a negative, but I always look at it as a positive where it shaped me into the person I am today.”
Many might have taken a different route, but the AMC Pankration and Evolve MMA athlete saw that moment as a life lesson.
“My stepdad took a different route of raising us and abusing us. That was his choice, and he has to live with that,” the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Final participant stated.
“Going through that type of abuse, you look back on it, and yeah, it sucked. But it made me tough. It made me listen, and maybe not talk back.”
These days – apart from gaming and a dominant career in the sport – Johnson is a perfect role model for his three children.
But with the lack of understanding on how to fulfill that role, the Washington native drew some inspiration from his close circle.
“I had a lot of friends, and they all had their dads there, and I saw they’d each be different with their children and with their wives,” recalls Johnson.
“One of my good friend’s dad would always wash the dishes. He said if a woman was going to spend all day making dinner, the least a man could do is get off his [butt] and wash dishes! [Since then] I’ve washed dishes my whole life.”
“I took a key influence that I liked from each father, and it made me a better man.”
Everything he endured has helped him to become a loving husband and a great father.
His next mission will come at The Home Of Martial Arts at ONE: CENTURY on Sunday, 13 October in Tokyo, Japan.
The American athlete takes on Danny “The King” Kingad in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
Before that, ONE Championship travels to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam for ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, the organization’s first-ever all-ONE Super Series match card, on Friday, 6 September.