While organizing his annual tournament, Willie Johnson draws inspiration from the first UFC. “I’ve always been a kung fu competitor, and in kung fu, we punch, kick and take people down,”
he said. “I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do all those things in the same competition? Wouldn’t it be nice to have everybody compete together — a full- contact guy, a wrestler, a shuai chiao guy, a kung fu guy?”
Johnson and his wife Kimberly Johnson plan their next tournament, called Challenge of the Champions. It features divisions for point fighting and for continuous contact, as well as a division that allows throws and takedowns, Johnson said. “Then we got all the people who won those divisions together, and I said, ‘OK, we now have one more, which we’re calling open fighting. All you guys will go against each other and use striking, kicking, throwing and grappling.’ It was incredible.” It becomes a permanent and popular feature at their competitions.
Point MMA officially debuts at Dennis Brown’s U. S. Capitol Classics in Washington, D.C. “It was a historic fight,” Johnson said. “My son Marco was doing his ‘ kung fu hip- hop’ against an opponent named Amari, a kenpo stylist from the Black Karate Federation. Joe Corley was the commentator. The audience had never seen anything like it! Marco was hitting him with tornado kicks like in the movies, and they were doing forward rolls and cartwheel kicks. It was mind- blowing.”