Regional Fan Favorite ‘Grandpa’ Don Williams, a Jackson MI native, started training Mixed Martial Arts at the astonishing age of 52 years old. He never intended to compete, only train, but as the sport took it’s foothold in the Northwest Arkansas Region where Williams had been training, Don Williams caught the “MMA Bug.” He began lobbying ShoFIGHT MMA promoter JT Tilley for an amateur bout, and by the age of 53, Williams was given an opportunity to compete. Twelve Hundred Fans packed the venue at ‘ShoFIGHT 2’ and witnessed as ‘Grandpa’ Don Williams was introduced to the Fight Fans of the Midwest on the under card.
Standing at 6’6”, and weighing nearly 260lbs, Williams is among the largest Heavyweights currently competing in the region. Williams’ first fight was versus Arkansas-based Heavyweight Mike ‘the Wildman’ Hasty, who ‘Grandpa’ dispatched in the first round by rapid TKO. The capacity crowd went wild as Williams exited the cage with his trademark cane and glasses after announcing that this was his first and last venture inside the cage. His retirement was short-lived however;
‘Grandpa’ continued to compete amassing a 4-0 record at ShoFIGHT versus opponents who would all be young enough to be his children and in some cases, grandchildren. Williams defeated Oklahoma-based Heavyweight Drew Allen at ‘ShoFIGHT 4,’ bringing his record to 2-0, then on his 54th birthday at ‘ShoFIGHT 5’ he faced Missouri-based Heavyweight Ty Bean and again emerged victorious with another 1st round TKO, after which he announced that he would retire a second time and return to Michigan to spend time with his Grandchildren.
Williams’ second retirement did not last long as he was asked to become a judge at a local Jackson, Michigan fight promotion until the urge to compete was too much for him to resist. Coming out of his second retirement to compete in his home state, Don Williams eventually became the Michigan State Heavyweight Champion and cemented his legacy as one of the oldest active fighters in the Midwest. After his 12th MMA competition, Williams had earned a record of 8 wins and only 4 losses and felt as if it was time to retire permanently. Until…
ShoFIGHT promoter JT Tilley received a call from Don earlier this year. Seemed the 56 year old Champion was feeling the itch to compete and was asking to be included on the card at ‘ShoFIGHT 23.’ Don faced another Oklahoma-based fighter in Doug Dainty, who he defeated by arm triangle in the first round and promptly ‘retired’ a 4th time. After breaking seventeen bones and suffering countless injuries, it seemed ‘Grandpa’ Don Williams had finally hung up his MMA Gloves for good.
Grandpa Don Williams accepts Title Fight at BRAWL INC in Branson, Missouri…
BRAWL INC promoter Dan Jenks was searching for a Main Event for the June 1st BRAWL INC Event, which takes place at the Branson Motorcycle Rally. With Regional Heavyweight Veteran and decorated Champion TJ ‘Tombstone’ Jones already committed, Jenks needed a formidable opponent. He contacted ‘Grandpa’ Don. After beginning his career in Branson, Missouri at ShoFIGHT, Williams felt that his farewell fight should take place in front of his old school fans, and again ‘un-retired.’
The internet immediately began buzzing about the possible matchup between ‘Tombstone’ and ‘Grandpa.’ Here are a few excerpts taken directly from the BRAWL INC MMA Cage Fighting facebook page:
Grandpa: “Hey TJ, are you my opponent?”
Tombstone: “yea looks like you up to the challenge? cause I too am comin’ out of retirement and I’m lookin for a war grandpa.”
Grandpa: “I ain’t never ready kid. I am old, tired and broke, but I will bring what I got. I love fighting. Don’t be rude if you want to fight me though. Honor, respect and courage my young friend. God bless and bring it!”
Tombstone: “no I don’t want to fight you I fight who the promoter puts in front of me look don a lot of people like you and your respected and at ur age what u’ve done in this sport is pretty cool that being said your not gona get hand shakes or smiles or hugs or crap like that before or after this fight ur going into that cage to hurt me and I’m gona treat it as such you have a chance to back out now take the chance or get hurt it’s that simple. I’m sending this old joke back to retirement home and claiming my 5th title.”
The fans of ‘Grandpa’ Don Williams immediately came to his defense and one of the biggest and most hyped matchups in Midwest Regional history was official.
Tombstone: “June 1st, TJ ‘Tombstone’ Jones vs Don Williams for the BRAWL INC Heavyweight Championship. Go to BRAWL INC’s [age and watch as ‘Grandpa’s’ fans eat out of the palm of my hands. But I promise everyone come June 1st I’m sending this old joke back to the retirement home and claiming my 5th Title.”
Grandpa: “Tell the pup he has to win. I always look good just showing up. Don’t let some 56 year old grandpa whoop ya kid. You got nothing to gain. He wins, you look bad. You win, what did you do beat up an old man? This a no win situation for you. That’s why no body wants to fight me.”
Whatever the outcome on June 1st in Branson, Missouri, these two Champions will be leaving it all in the cage and no love will be lost between the two. Which fighter will leave BRAWL INC with the title? Will it be the retired maximum security prison guard and beloved fan favorite that is Williams, or will Dominant Heavyweight TJ Jones follow through with his promise to become Champion in yet another Midwestern Fighting Organization? Williams predicts a broken nose for ‘Tombstone,’
Grandpa: “I’m not going to submit him,I’m going to introduce him to an 84 inch reach…see what he has for an answer…should be a good fight and good time.”
Grandpa added, “Although my old body will forever ache I am so grateful to have been part of the MMA world. Most of the young men I have met treated me with great respect. I dedicate my new book, (Don Williams Mental Training Handbook,) to the two teams I fought for White River Ju Jitsu, and Jackson MMA. I thank all my teammates it was truly a privilege to have shared blood, sweat, tears, breaks and dislocations with all of you. I always hear how terrible and brutal this sport is but what the public does not see is this, young fatherless men growing into strong good men because of the discipline their coaches instilled into them. Because they turn these foolish boys into men with discipline. The discipline of martial arts saves these young men from ruin. Society owes a debt of gratitude to these fine coaches who sacrifice all to these young men.”
Tickets to ‘BRAWL INC: Bike Rally Beatdown,’ are selling online at www.shofight.com
. Stay tuned to BRAWL INC on facebook for some of the most entertaining smack talk this reporter has seen to date.