Poker Pro Beaten Up by UFC Champion5 years ago
When poker pro JC Alvarado decided to get in some serious training for his much-hyped MMA fight with fellow poker star Olivier Busquet, he probably didn’t expect to get the living daylights knocked out of him by an actual UFC champion in the process!
But that’s exactly what happened when the high-stakes player was thrown into the lion’s den against UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in preparation for the mixed martial arts bout.
Despite a significant weight advantage -and training in disciplines such as jiu-jitsu and kick-boxing – Alvarado’s session at the AMC Martial Arts gym showed the poker pro that fighting is a serious business.
"I was doing my thing and I hit him in the liver,” related Johnson during the most recent episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast, of his encounter with a “professional poker player” at AMC Martial Arts in Kirkland, Seattle, Wa.
Many suspect that this refers to Alvarado, who accepted a $270,000 prop bet from Brusquet, a long-time UFC fan. Despite the date for Alvarado and Busquet to enter the cage has not yet been set, both men are rumoured to be in training for the bout and the gym is close to Alvarado’s home.
Alvarado’s UFC champion sparring-partner Johnson provided further details of the recent gym-session, recalling:
At that point I started hitting him in the face. I’m very nice and I promise all my sparring partners that I’d never hurt them.”
However, hurt him he did – at the same time explaining to the poker pro with the fighting instincts, “as I was hitting him in the face I said isn’t it amazing how the body reacts when you get hit in the face, you don’t even care that I’m hitting you in the face anymore,” adding, “He then brought his hands up and I hit him in the stomach again!”
The sparring session, run under the auspices of AMC’s world-class coach Matt Hume – a former champion fighter himself - may not have gone quite how Alvarado may have hoped, but it will likely stand him in good stead for the Busquet fight.
Busquet is expected to have a significant weight advantage– some 187.5 pounds compared to the 165 pounds of Alvarado, but the MMA cage is just as used to surprises as the poker table.
Busquet’s tournament poker earnings also dwarf that of the Mexican - with $6,845,046 to Alvarado’s $3,169,266 – the New York resident picking up a $1million+ payday at last year’s Barcelona $50K super high-roller.
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