Home Sport gear Demetrius Johnson is an MMA legend and Twitch streamer who steps into the ring with tech – GeekWire

Demetrius Johnson is an MMA legend and Twitch streamer who steps into the ring with tech – GeekWire

Bellevue, Washington-based Zeacon is named after him on warm-up gear worn by mixed martial arts fighter Demetrius Johnson. (Photo courtesy of Demetrius Johnson)

Demetrius Johnson has been called one of the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial arts champions of all time, if not the greatest. Last week he retook the ONE Flyweight Championship in Singapore in a fight streamed live on Amazon Prime Video – in another great sports partnership for the tech giant.

When he’s not battling, Johnson wrestles online as a top gamer on the Twitch streaming platform.

Both activities brought Johnson, of Parkland, Washington, a large and loyal following. And his reputation has also sparked interest from Seattle-area tech companies who want to get in the ring with the guy known as Mighty Mouse.

“Technology is the future,” Johnson told GeekWire. “They are always looking to solve problems, always looking to create new things that make life easier.”

Johnson sits on the advisory board of Zeacon, based in Bellevue, Washington. The 4-year-old startup pivoted during the pandemic and now provides a platform to create interactive videos on a decentralized network to help creators and brands engage and monetize audiences.

Zeacon founder and CEO Kris Naidu said Johnson is tech and gaming savvy, with 10 years of experience creating video content.

“He is an expert in the live streaming world and knows exactly what other content creators want in a video platform,” Naidu said. “DJ provided invaluable feedback on different aspects of the Zeacon platform.”

Demetrius Johnson after winning the ONE Flyweight Championship on August 26. (A photo)

Portable Consultants, based in Redmond, Wash., sees Johnson the same way.

Johnson is an investor in the early stage company, which provides businesses with data and voice services. Founder and CEO Rick Crabbe got to know him while training at the same MMA gym. He called Johnson one of the most disciplined and humble people he had ever met.

“What drew us to DJ was his character and his public image,” Crabbe said. “What company couldn’t learn things from someone like that?” We believe having DJ as an investor helps validate our commitment as a company to be the best at what we do, while conducting ourselves with integrity.

We caught up with Johnson to talk about how he got into MMA, his love for gaming and streaming and more. Our Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

GeekWire: We celebrate geeks of all persuasions and we use geek as an endearing term. Is it OK to call an MMA fighter a geek?

Demetrius Johnson: “Absolutely. I call myself a nerd. My wife calls me a nerd. You can call me nerd, geek, whatever word you want to use.

What is your background/connection to Washington State?

“I was born in Kentucky and my mother’s last husband was stationed at Fort Lewis, so that’s when we moved to Parkland. From second year until now, I’ve been down south – Tacoma, Parkland, Puyallup area. I never felt like I wanted to move to another state and I never wanted to leave the South. Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, everything is beautiful up there, but it’s way too expensive for the house you get.

Demetrius Johnson, right, during his recent ONE Championship Mixed Martial Arts bout against Adriano Moraes. (A photo)

When did you start your sport?

“I played many sports growing up – basketball, wrestling, track, cross country – and the sport that got me into mixed martial arts was wrestling. I like that it’s just 1 on 1 , someone your size and nothing anyone else can do. If you lose, you go home, you look in the mirror and the only person you have to blame is yourself. When I got out of high school, I had nothing else to do athletically I saw ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, I saw Rashad Evans work a sack, hit it, and the next thing you know, I just went to the gym, I started hitting the bag and Reese Andy saw me and he said, ‘Hey, you want to learn how to fight? and I was like, ‘Sure, why not.’ The rest is history. That’s how I fell into it.”

Do you use technology in any way to improve your fighting game?

“I have a thing called Oura’s Ring. I like it because it tracks my sleep and lets me know how long I sleep. It tells me when is the best time for me to fall asleep and I try to hit that target as close as possible. It also counts the number of calories I burned in a day and keeps track of my workouts.

Demetrius Johnson during a game stream on Twitch. (Twitch screenshot)

You are a great Twitch streamer. Tell us about your interest in games.

“Twitch is something I love doing. It’s another way for me to connect with fans on a different level. I don’t think I’ll make a full-time career because it’s way too many work and the pay goes up and down. My favorite game was the “Mega Man X” series. That’s what got me into streaming on Twitch. Now I play a bit of everything: shooting games first person, RPG, RTS.

“There’s a game I’ve played a lot called ‘The Cycle: Frontier.’ They’ve got a brand new wipe coming out – they’re wiping everyone’s stash and everything they’ve collected in the last three months and everyone starting over. It’s going live September 28th.

Is there something from the game that you bring to the ring?

“Just the distance. That’s the biggest one. There’s a fighting game called ‘Street Fighter V’ and there are frames and distances that you have to control – you have to put your character in the right place.

What is the next step for you in your career and in technology?

“I’m going to get healthy, get back to the gym, keep learning, and prepare for what’s next in the world of mixed martial arts. When it comes to investing, I like to take my time to see what’s going on. I think the next front is the health and wellness sector. We will see if I have other opportunities over time to invest in other technology companies. »