Case wins UFC debut
By ANDREW MCGINN
Apparently, Johnny Case was always a cautious kid growing up.
“He’d let the other kids do the crazy things six times before he’d do it, just to make sure nobody died,” his mom, Nicole Wasmundt, recalled late Friday night.
You never would’ve known that watching Case choke a fellow cage fighter live on the Internet to the point of unconsciousness.
The homegrown mixed-martial arts fighter — a 2007 graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School — announced his arrival on the international fight scene early Saturday Iowa time in a big way, finishing off Japanese fighter and odds-on favorite Kazuki Tokudome in the second round in Tokyo with a guillotine choke.
It was his first fight for the multi-billion-dollar UFC, and Johnny “Hollywood” Case didn’t disappoint.
“Nobody’s earned it more than he has,” said his uncle, Ryan Tasler, a Jefferson native who now lives in Glidden.
Of all the bouts on the Fight Night card, Case won a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.
Nearly 12,400 people were in attendance at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, according to the UFC, with seemingly close to that number packing Doc’s Stadium Bar and Grill on the east side of Jefferson’s Square to watch the fight online.
“It’s overwhelming,” Allyn Case, Case’s brother, said about the hometown turnout at Doc’s. “It’s more than I thought.”
Technical difficulties ultimately plagued the event at Doc’s, but someone with a laptop finally got the stream going just in time for the Case bout.
The fight was broadcast live on TV across Asia to 150 million homes, and on delay to 550 million in Asia.
Wasmundt (formerly Tasler), a 1985 Jefferson High grad who now lives in Pocahontas, isn’t actually bothered by the sight of people punching her baby boy.
As she explained, “I’m the one screaming, ‘Get ’em John baby!’”