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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Johnny ‘Brutal’ Bedford gets to fight at AT&T Center

Johnny “Brutal” Bedford is a Woodmore graduate who previously resided in Woodville. Since his graduation in 2001, Bedford signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

He was a competitor on Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller.”

Additionally, he currently owns the gym Fitness Fight Factory in Fort Worth, Texas. His next fight is scheduled for June 28 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. He is scheduled to fight Rani Yahya.

Bedford flew to Las Vegas to try out for the season 14 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” a Spike TV reality show that aired on Wednesday nights. Bedford, like the rest of the contestants, had to fight his way onto the show. He won his fight, and suddenly he was on reality TV.

“Thirty-two guys went to Las Vegas and the first episode showed 16 fights,” Bedford said. “The 16 losers went home and the 16 winners got to move into a house in Vegas.”

Bedford said being on “The Ultimate Fighter” proved to be more than he expected. On the show, two MMA coaches picked their eight-man teams and Bedford was chosen by Jason “Mayhem” Miller, the host of MTV's “Bully Beatdown.” The other coach is Michael Bisbin.

Bedford told The Press that living in the house in Vegas for more than a month “was terrible.”

“They want drama, obviously,” he said. “You're in a house with 16 guys and they're your competition. The coaches picked teams – there are four guys in my weight class on my team and four guys on the other team – and it's down to the fights now (through Oct. 19). Team Bisbin took the first overall pick, and that gave Team Miller the chance to pick the first fight. I went second overall.

“I fought with a broken (right) hand in the fight that got me into the house. I fought the entire ('Ultimate Fighter') season with a broken hand. In Vegas, they locked you up in this house for six weeks and there's no communication with the outside world. There's no Internet, no cell phones, no TV. You don't even listen to music, not even in the van to go train. They literally cut you off from the outside world. I didn't talk to my wife for six weeks.”

Bedford participated in high school wrestling when he attended Woodmore and was extraordinarily successful because he started wrestling at 5-years-old. He was a three-time state qualifier and his high school record ended at 51-1.

“Woodmore was great; it teaches you hard work and humility,” said Bedford. “I love where I came from.”

After high school, Bedford went on to wrestle for Cleveland State University. That only lasted a year and a half, however, and he moved on.

In the mid-1990s, he realized that he wanted to be an Ultimate Fighter. In 2003, Bedford got involved in mixed martial arts and started fighting as an amateur. He won all six of his bouts and got discovered by a promoter.

“I was having success, winning fights and making money,” Bedford told The Press in 2011. “It's a lot better than getting a real job, a 9-to-5 job. And, you can compete. I compete for a living now. I enjoy competition, and to be able to make a living at something you love to do, to come in and compete, I'm really blessed to have that.”

When he fights he thinks of the winnings with a very interesting perspective. The other competitor is trying to take his money, so he has to do whatever he can to protect it.

When Bedford first began his career, he was paid only about $200 a fight, which to him now is laughable. Due to the low payout, he had to fight as much as he could. After months and months of this hard life, Bedford was offered a job in Texas as the head trainer at a gym. Soon, the UFC called him to Las Vegas, Nevada, and there he was given the opportunity to fight in the UFC.

Bedford’s aspirations have truly been accomplished. He loves owning a gym and fighting. He even has his own website (

“I am very blessed to do what I do for a living,” said Bedford. “I train 4-year-old boys to 70-year-old women and get to share my passion with them.”

Bedford enjoys UFC because it is a one dimensional sport and only one guy wins.

Bedford’s inspiration in his life is actually his family. He has been married to wife Melody, a 2002 Woodmore graduate, for eight years and has a 7 year-old son and a 2 year-old daughter.

“Melody is super supportive,” Bedford said. “She's been nothing but great. I mean, we moved across the country so I could train in Texas.”

(Alex Post is a student-writer for Woodmore student publication Window To Woodmore. His article from the May 2014 issue was reprinted with permission with contributions from Press contributing writer Mark Griffin).



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