Lincoln, Rhode Island will play host to an interesting pro MMA debut on October 27 when CES launches their 46th card. John Gotti III (0-0) will face Johnny Adams (0-1) in a welterweight bout at the Twin River Casino, an event that will air live on AXS TV.
Gotti is the grandson of notorious New York mafia crime boss John Gotti, who headed up the powerful Gambino crime family during the 1980s. The eldest Gotti, aka “The Teflon Don,” received a life sentence for a litany of crimes (including five murders) in 1992 and was transferred to United States Penitentiary, Marion. He remained there until throat cancer prompted officials to move him to United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where he died on June 10, 2002.
In a July interview with Bleacher Report, Gotti III spoke about the interest his name brings to the table, an unavoidable fact he fully recognizes.
"There's no getting around it. Throughout my career, the name is always going to be attached to me. My father and my grandfather, they're a part of me. But this is a different avenue that I'm taking. Nobody in my family ever pursued sports to this degree or became a professional athlete. They never went down that road, so this is a whole different road I'm going down. It's not like my name is Frank like my brother. I share the name 'John Gotti.' I want to put it in a positive spotlight and show people that I'm a hard-working kid and I'm dedicated to this game."
Gotti’s interest in MMA was piqued when his father returned home from a stint in prison. His dad was a longtime fan of the sport and the two attended one of the trilogy fights between Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. He was instantly hooked, noting that he “fell in love with it right away.”
It wouldn’t be until 2013 that he’d take up training for his amateur debut, a grueling fight that he would win and one that taught him a valuable lesson.
"I learned something about myself in there. It made me see if this was for me or if it was not for me. It got really rough in there, and it gives you a gut-check, but I never had any doubts."
His father has been careful in guiding his career after a brief period of resistance to the idea. He now trains at Long Island MMA with UFC staple Ryan LaFlare who believes Gotti can “100% succeed at the Bellator or UFC level.”
The date of his upcoming debut, October 27, is also significant in that it would have been his grandfather’s 77th birthday. Gotti’s fight will be the event opener. The full bout sheet is below:
MAIN CARD (AXS TV)
John Howard vs. Roger Carroll
Dinis Paiva vs. Branden Seyler
Josh LaBerge vs. Jon Lemke
Shedrick Goodridge vs. Justin Sumter
Rico DiSciullo vs. Justin King
Gary Balletto Jr. vs. Sharif Jones
PRELIMINARY CARD (untelevised)
Pat McCrohan vs. Buck Pineau
Marquis Brewster vs. Raymond Yanez
Johnny Adams vs. John Gotti III