Behind The Fighter
The Return Of Billy Jessie
By Greggy Harrison
On Friday May 16th, 2014, a known Chicagoland fighter will return to the cage after a twenty one month absence to fight for Jim Jackson's Supreme Promotions show and it will be for a title bout. Billy Jessie returns as he will face Bobby Kpa for the 205 pound title belt. Jessie, who is making his debut with the promotion has been a card headliner before at shows put on at Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park, Illinois so this will be nothing new for Jessie as he will have a big following with him for sure come this Friday night at Georgios Banquet Hall in Orland Park, Illinois. On behalf of MoreMMA.com, I had the opportunity to interview Jessie to learn more about the life behind the fighter in a question and answer interview.
MoreMMA: How did you get into MMA?
Jessie: Both my parents came from big family's. Mom had five sisters, two brothers and Dad had one sister and four brothers. They all had multiple kids. My parents weren't suppose to be able to have kids but somehow had me. At all the Holiday party's by my dad's family I would get my ass whooped by all my cousins until I was six I think. My Grandma who was like 4'5, 85 pounds but 100% Italian so she was like 8'12 you know?. So she got me a wiffle ball bat for Christmas with me not thinking because I always thought baseball was a gay ass sport but she just smiled and said I was welcome. Two hours later I was chasing all my cousins around the backyard with with it whooping them (chuckles), so I guess that’s what put the taste in my mouth. I guess if you check my M.O, I have always stood up for myself, my friends or what I believed in. I never backed down. I owe my pops for that one because he's the best man I have ever met and my best friend. Pops taught
me to stand my ground, be a man, and never back down from anyone but don't ever start nothing but if he's talking trash you better throw the first punch and whoop his ass. Pops was a hard working country boy at heart. He taught me a lot and instilled a lot into me and anyone who knows him understands me. I got in trouble a lot for fighting my whole life and had a problem with authority figures because I believed respect was earned and not given because that badge never meant shit but as I got older I learned to pick and choose my battles. When the opportunity arose for me to get paid to do what I kept going to jail for I just said fuck it why not right? Jimbo(Jim Pacione) finally got me to go to the gym and I was hooked. LA Boxing in Wrigley man. That place was a blast and I remember being scared out of my mind walking in with Jimbo G-lo to Amanda (Bulldawg), Joe (Ryu), Norman, Aaron, and Robbie. Just a bunch of loud mouths that made you feel like you were
at home man. That first night out there at LA Boxing was amazing. They kicked the shit out of me like we were in the alleys in Argo but man was it fun. I miss them guys out there. Much love to the whole team in Wrigley.
MoreMMA: After a year and a half out of the cage, what made you want to get back in there again?
Jessie: Probably the adrenaline that’s like skydiving. You never know who the better man will be that night you know? I had some legal issues and some Injuries that had to be taken care of so after a small vacation the itch came back. Everyone is so supportive of me when I'm in that cage. I have a huge following and guess they just like to see a local from the south side of Chicago not fucking up his life. Teachers always told me my fighting would get me nowhere. HA!!!!
MoreMMA: What has been your biggest Moment in MMA?
Jessie: It wasn't inside the cage but the one that stands out and my proudest was the day my daughter called me hysterically crying because she was at the mall with her friends and she saw me on a poster at Eminent. She was so happy and proud to tell everyone in the store that I was her father. I would have to say that might be one of my proudest ones in life. The one inside the cage was after my second fight. The whole place was filing out and there was this one little boy standing on crutches who just wanted a picture with me. We picked him up and took him into the cage and the kid was super stoked. That picture still never surfaced but that was another great moment for me.
MoreMMA: You have been getting trained by Jim Pacione who is a great striking coach. What has that experience been like?
Jessie: Man, that guy is amazing. One of the greatest guys I have ever met. That dude would give you the shirt off of his back. He is one one of the best fathers I have ever seen in life. His whole family all the way around is just good people. Jimbo kept me on the straight path even when I was at my worst. He is my big bro in many more ways then he knows. If I even struggle with anything he will always answer his phone. He is one of the last dying breed. As for his training man, he is an asshole (laughing) he pushes me past all limits I ever seen. He has a way of instilling confidence in you. The dude is amazing at putting together a game plan and picking the opponents apart. He is good at what he does and I'm glad to have him in my corner.
MoreMMA: Who are your biggest influences in your life?
Jessie: My kids man. If it wasn't for them I would be dead or in jail. My daughter who I had at 17 has had one hell of a life. She is my heart and I wouldn't change it for the world. We have our ups and downs but she is definitely a little me. Oh man and my son. This little dude is a spitting image of me and acts just like me too. He is a trip. My kids are my world. My pops has always been a strong influence on me too. He would put a whooping on me when I messed up something something fierce but I love and respect him for it now. There's also my little circle of friends that I call family. We were a bunch of fuck ups but all know what we bring the table and there is not a thing I will not do for them. There is a lot of love and loyalty there.
MoreMMA: Who would you like to thank that has helped you on this journey?
Jessie: All my friends and family. The whole southside of Chicago. One sponsor that sticks out is Defiance because they took me in as one of their own. Byron and Crystal I love ya both and the whole Indiana family. The world needs more Genuine people like y'all. I never seen stars like that in my life sitting in your backyard in the little town called Lowell, Indiana. Definitely some things I will never forget. I met so many great people coming into this sport. I have learned discipline, respect and to stay humble. You don't lose. You win or learn. I look forward to May 16th fighting Bobby Kpa for the Supreme Promotions 205 pound belt. He is a tough guy and I promise to leave it all in the cage. Thanks again to Jimbo, Johnny, Zaid, Phil, Danny, Spencer who helped get me ready for this fight. Ufc gym's Omar, Dave, Adam, Mike and G Lo the list goes on and on. The guys out at Gracie Baha in Downers Grove. Hammerfist Gear, Goodfellas Barbershop, Pole Katz,
Scores all the love from everyone thank you. Skin and Art by Zaid Rashida (708) 860-9899 and The Office Sports Bar and Grill 4901 Cal Sag Road in Crestwood, Illinois where my after party will be. Accelerated Rehabilitation and Cafe Gaston at 14438 John Humphrey Drive in Orland Park, Illinois.
You can come see Billy in the cage this Friday in Orland Park, Illinois as Supreme Promotions invades Georgios Banquets at 8800 West 159th Street. Get your tickets now at www.supremeprotions.net