Just last month, J.D. Adie posted a first-round victory in his Mixed Martial Arts debut in Reno.
The performance was noteworthy for Adie, who at age 36 borders on being an MMA senior citizen. Make no mistake about it, however, perseverance and dedication have carried the Carson Valley a long way these past seven years. For starters, Adie is convinced he is in the best physical shape of his life and it all started with his chance introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“You know, 10 years ago, I weighed 340 pounds and I did nothing for exercise at all,” Adie said. “When I was in high school, I broke both my knees the summer after my sophomore year. I spent my 16th birthday in a wheelchair, then I kind of went the wrong way in life after that. Eventually I found jiu-jitsu, and that kind of saved my life.”
While Adie dreamed of being a football player as a freshman and sophomore at Douglas High School in the early 1990s, serious injuries to both knees after his sophomore year ended those plans.
“Everything I did was geared toward getting ready for football, and that took the wind out of my sails quite a bit,” Adie said of the injuries. “I tried to come back, but after that I kind of stopped doing sports and went down a different path. I didn’t do much, I gained a lot of weight, I was in just really bad shape and on a crash course with a heart attack, I’m sure.”
Adie said he discovered Brazilian jiu-jitsu through a good friend, Scott Hyde, who convinced him to get off the couch and do something.
“It’s been a great ride,” Adie said. “Martial arts definitely put me on a better path in my life. It’s taken me from the dark place I was in to the life I have now.”
The 5-foot-8 Adie, known in the ring as “Wrecking Ball,” stepped into the ring for his MMA heavyweight on Sept. 28 at the Grand Sierra Resort. Adie, who represented the Sierra Adrenaline Training Center in Carson City, won at 2:44 in his bout against Austin Haggerty of Paradise, Calif.
“I was pleased with it,” Adie said. “I trained really hard for it, and after the fight was over, I wasn’t even tired. Of course, you have the adrenaline surge and everything so it’s quite a cloud you end up on afterward.”
Two of his coaches, Brian Beck and Frank Abella, were equally pleased by what they saw from their ringside seats.
“We’ve got one of the still shots of me fighting the guy and my coaches are in the background ... they’re both sitting there with their hands on their laps. That’s always a good way to see your coaches, usually they’re standing up and screaming at you,” Adie said, laughing.
There was never any doubt about the outcome if you were to ask Brian Beck, co-owner of the Sierra Adrenaline Training Center with his wife, Marissa (the Becks are both Douglas High School graduates).
“All we had to do was sit back, relax and enjoy the show,” Beck said. “He absolutely destroyed his opponent.”
Adie’s Puay-Thai coach, Frank Abella, indicated the outcome was the result of extensive preparatopm.
“He’s been focused on it for some time now,” Abella said. “His evolution of his skill sets accelerated once he narrowed down a timeline. He really took a surgical approach on training for this last fight. He had the mind set and the will.”
To supplement his background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Adie and his team of coaches worked tirelessly to put other components together in preparation for the fight.
“He’d previously been a ground fighter, but all the coaches worked with him in what we call a fight camp, where he worked on his stand-up skills, his kicks, his conditioning and his wrestling,” Beck said. “He stepped up to the plate and did some amazing work.”
In addition to his training regimen, Adie teaches jiu-jitsu classes six nights a week at Sierra Adrenaline Training Center. He teaches under the direction of Lowell Anderson, who now lives in Menlo Park, Calif.
“This is a very family oriented gym, we have a kids room with a TV so kids can play while their parents are working out, cardio equipment, weight room, I do spend a lot of time here, and my wife as well, taking classes with me,” said Adie, who has worked with Sierra Adrenaline the last two years.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which emphasizes use of leverage and proper technique, is a very practical form of self defense, especially for women fighting off an attacker, Adie explained.
“Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a very exquisite art,” Adie said. “It was designed by a very small man so that somebody who is not strong or is small could defeat any sized opponent with better technique and perfection.”
Classes are offered for men, women and children, he added.
“It works really well for self defense for women and it works really well for self defense for anybody, kids and stuff like that,” Adie said.
Adie works as an electrical mechanical technician for Lyon County in Dayton.
“I work 10-hour days, but get off Friday, Saturday and Sundays … that’s my regular job and then I come here and teach, which is my fun stuff,” Adie said.
“I train for fights and I’m a father of three and a husband as well,” he said. “So it’s kind of one of those full-plate kinds of things. There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure.”
Adie has been an asset at the facility, Beck noted.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete and he’s a good role model to a lot of these kids,” Beck said. “He’s taught them that no matter what size you are, you can get anything you’d want to achieve just by working hard.”
IN THE GYM
Even though it was his MMA debut, Adie has an extensive background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with a 37-6 record in amateur competition.
“Brazilian jiu-jitsu has more weight classes and age groups,” Adie said. “You’ll see those guys out there 50 and 60 years old still competing.”
Since his MMA triumph at the Grand Sierra Resort, Adie has cut his weight from 243 pounds back to the 220-pound range as he strives to maintain a high fitness level.
“When I’m training I cut out all the fun stuff … you know, beer, soda, no ice cream, candy, or anything like that,” Adie said. “That means lean meat and vegetables, protein shakes usually twice a day, in the morning and evening after I train.”
The road has been challenging at times. Adie said as much when he acknowledged the time he spent training for Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition while working fin the Carson Valley for Kawchack Pump and Well Service.
“They sponsored me through countless jiu-jitsu events, and put up with me coming to work with numerous broken fingers, toes, and ribs,” Adie said.
Due to the time commitment required for fight preparation, Adie does not plan to on any MMA bouts in the immediate future. So, what is his next goal?
“I’d like to try for a world championship in jiu-jitsu,” he said. “There are things on my bucket list and I want to knock them off one at a time. One of my goals has been to be a world champion one day and, you know, maybe I’ll get a chance to do that. I’ll sure give it everything I’ve got.”