Not many people would endure what I’ve endured for this dream. I am penniless, almost homeless, lost my fiancé, losing my dog, starving and injured. Nothing will keep me from my dream. What are you willing to do? – “Ragin” Kajan Johnson (Facebook Status)
The above quote should remind us that professional fighters today aren’t necessarily making millions of dollars not even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most pro athletes are fighting to put food on the table so that they can continue to work towards their dream of maybe one day making it to the big show.
I got a chance to sit down with Kajan before he headed off to Edmonton Alberta for Maximum Fighting Championship 31 taking place on October 7th. There, he takes on Richie “Hellboy” Whitson in what could end up being fight of the night and possible MFC lightweight title shot.
TD: First off let’s get right to it. You have a fight at MFC 31 against a very game Richie “Hell Boy” Whitson. I watched his last fight and he seems to have a style that suits you.
KJ: Yeah, I think Whitson has a very aggressive pressure based fighting style. I’m excited about that because it makes for a war and I like wars! Only in the ring though. I don’t like real war; I’m kind of a hippie like that.
TD: Okay I won’t ask you about the war in Afghanistan. We’ll avoid that subject. You haven’t been in the ring since 2010, why the long layoff?
TD: I hate asking “so how’s training going?” but in your case you have not just been training in your hometown of Vancouver. You have been getting around to a few different “smaller” gyms. No big deal. Tristar in Montreal. So Kajan, how’s training?
KJ: I actually made two trips one to Extreme Couture in Vegas where I trained with Pyle, Kampmann, Heiron etc… The other trip was to Tristar with the likes of Kenny Florian, GSP, Rory MacDonald etc…
TD: Okay, no big deal. Who is this GSP you speak of? That must have been a trip training with those guys.
KJ: Yeah, I’m going back to Tristar on October 17th for good. I have officially become a member of team Tristar and can’t wait to get back there and put more work in.
TD: One of the guys you trained with at Tristar was another well-known British Columbian fighter Rory MacDonald. You two had a scrap back in 2007. What was it like to be hanging with him and training?
KJ: Hanging with Rory is chills man. We were friends before our fight and stayed friends after. It’s not the first time I have fought a friend. I look at it as just a competition, no ego, no hard feelings.
TD: It’s becoming very clear that if you want to be a professional fighter in Vancouver that you need to move away from VanCity. There are some serious politics going on in the City and the Province of BC when it comes to professional MMA. I remember you tweeting or posting somewhere that it has become frustrating to see amateur fighters get more recognition than professional fighters in the Vancouver area. Obviously that has a lot to do with City Council not allowing any other professional organizations, like the MFC, to operate in the city unless you are the UFC. However, holding amateur fights is apparently okay. It doesn’t make any sense.
KJ: No doubt. It has definitely been trying at times. Being virtually unknown in your city is kind of weird, but it’s good for my ego though, it helps me stay humble. It’s going to be funny when I blow up and fight in the UFC and people will be like “Oh shit that guy use to work at Joseph Richards.” Lol. Bandwagon jumpers, welcome to the team!
TD: Yeah just for the record I have followed your career for a while. One thing I hear you talk about a lot is music. Explain to people what music means to you.
KJ: I really love music. I’m always blasting it at home. I am always writing and finding new beats. My neighbors probably hate me. It’s hard to explain in words my love for music.
TD: If I were your neighbor I would not be coming to your house to ask you to turn it down. Writing music takes some serious skills, what is your process?
KJ: There is always a song for any mood you’re in. Doesn’t matter if you’re sad, happy or excited. I try to write when I am in one of those moods. When I meet a girl I like to write a love song. When I broke up with my fiancé I wrote a sad breakup song. When I’m grinding everyday I write about that. It’s just therapy for me, but less expensive.
TD: MFC 31 has a couple of guys from VanCity fighting on the card.
KJ: Yes my friend and roommate Ryan Chiappe as well as Team Mamba member Sabah Fadai will both be on the MFC 31 card. I’m stoked! It brings me back to the old days when we’d have like 6-7 guys on the same fight card. Lately I’ve been fighting alone back in XMMA and until recently in the MFC. It’ll be nice to have company this time around.
TD: I just saw your new entrance shirt that people can get at Dominant Ground.com. I really like it. What do you have planned for your entrance? Usually you’re dancing around. Is that a way to calm your nerves and keep you focused or is it more for intimidation?
KJ: I never plan what I’m going to do on the walk out. I’m just in the moment. Lately I’ve been dancing but that’s just what comes out of me. I do it for me always. I never do anything to try to get in my opponents head. I want to fight him at his very best to truly test myself.
TD: Speaking of entrance shirts, I notice you have a lot of sponsors for this fight. How much of that is due to you changing up your management company and going with Echelon Fighting Management? They are a young company still getting started but it seems Darcy McBride has done a great job of bringing on top tier Canadian talent thus far.
KJ: EFM has definitely done well in the short amount of time they’ve been around. I signed with them because I trust them. I think my last agent ripped me off so trust was a huge factor in my decision. Also I believe in their hustle. They’re new so they’re still building their contacts but I believe we will grow together and do great things ie: make a lot of money! Lol.
TD: I can dig that. It’s about time guys like you started getting support. I’m sure the last thing most professional fighters want to worry about when training for a big fight is if their manager is ripping them off. Okay before you give shout outs to those companies that have been supporting you lately I have been told by some of the female readers to ask you if you are still currently single?
KJ: Haha, that’s too funny. Yes I am officially single still. Lol. It’s Kind of weird though because it’s really the first time in almost ten years. I think I’m getting the hang of it slowly though. If you want to get in touch with me follow me on twitter @iamragin. If you’re REALLY cute add me to Facebook (Kajan Johnson)
TD: Okay who needs support of a woman when you have sponsors, name the peeps who have been backing you up in preparation for your fight.
KJ: Shout outs to Elite Organic Nutrition, Alberta Star Development Corp, Coalition Fight Music, Kore Fit Living, Performax Health Group, Ephin Apparel, Young Beautiful and Rich Clothing, Mamba MMA and of course Tristar Gym. Last but not least all the people in VanCity…I love you and I will be back one day.
TD: Thanks Kajan. I really appreciate you doing this. We (MMASucka.com) have been following your career for a while now and it’s always nice to chat with you.
Support Kajan by watching his MFC 31 fight on Friday October 7 on HDNET (check your local listings.) If you want to attend the event go to MFC’s website and purchase them there. If you live in the Vancouver area you can go and watch MFC 31 at a special viewing party at Forum Public House at 1163 Granville Street for only $10.
Go and pick up Kajan’s walkout shirt at DominantGround.com.
MFC 31 Spot from Maximum Fighting on Vimeo.