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Prime FS 5 - Preview

By Rob Francis | Special for Knuckle Junkies

October is going to be a busy month of combat sports in the St Louis region, and it will kick off with Prime FS Breakout on October 3rd at the Center St Louis. Prime FS showcases all aspects of combat on their cards and Breakout promises more of the same. The card will feature MMA, K1, youth K1, and is headlined by two title fights.

The Fighting for Autism Title bout between JP Gillespie and David Steffan is garnering attention from fans and fighters nation wide. Gillespie is a 26 year old martial artist from Johnston City, Illinois. He was born with cerebral palsy.

JP: When I was born my parents were told that I would never walk, talk, or be potty trained. The doctors believed that I would be confined to a wheel chair and would not have any high functioning cognitive skills. Basically, it was believed that nothing was imaginable.

KJ: How did you get to the point you are at now in your life?

JP: My parents decided at that time that the term nothing could not be within their vocabulary or mine. Instead, they pushed. They wanted to see how far I could go with nothing. I was enrolled in every possible physical therapy program they could find. I received countless hours of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. My parents treated me like any other child and fought for me to be mainstreamed in a regular education schools and classrooms. My mom signed me up to play soccer and t-ball and even football. All of which I participated in successfully with the help of my step father, P.J., who worked with me and would not let me use my disability as an excuse. My parents also endured the many times I became frustrated and wanted to quit or do it my way as I can be a little head-strong and stubborn at times. But know this; it is this very head-strong sense of pride and compassion that has prevented me to be anything more than nothing. Without an amazing support system of family and friends, I could have derailed a few times. It is these family and friends that I love for motivating me and keeping me on the right track and treating me as if nothing were impossible. The cerebral palsy does prevent me from speaking, and yes I have physical limitations, but it's the perceptions of others that truly limit me.

KJ: How did you get involved with MMA?

JP: I fell in love with martial arts at a young age. It has always been my dream to become a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. I began training in 2009 and became more determined to fulfill my dream after I lost my father to Pancreatic Cancer in 2013. I currently train at the CMA gym in Marion, Illinois under my Sensi/Coach, Mike Ben Avi. This training has developed more than fighting skills. It has developed a new sense of perspective, discipline, pride and worth. It kind of opened my eyes to who I am, and I like who I am. If you are able to put everything into perspective, nothing is a problem. I have added nothing back to my vocabulary, as in I will stop at nothing to be exactly who I am! I am a MMA Fighter in mind, body, & soul.

David the Cerebral Assassin Steffan is a 1-1 amateur mixed martial artist who fights out of Skywalker 101 boxing Academy out of Omaha Nebraska as well as garage Training Center in Denver Colorado. Born with mild Cerebral Palsy, the 30 year old former Special Olympian and current Paralympic Athlete is somewhat of an icon in the state of Nebraska among his fellow athletes. Growing up, David was teased by his peers and was constantly told what he could not do. Sports were an outlet emotionally and physically, they provided a way for David to prove not just to kids without disabilities, but more importantly to himself he could do anything he put his mind to.

Over the years David adopted the personal mantra Simply Believe, an affirmation that an iron will and determination can overcome any limitation or adversity life throws at you. He is a member of the U.S National Paralympic soccer team and an avid practitioner of martial arts and combative sports.

The co-main event is a fight for the 155 Muay Thai championship between defending champion Jason

Newman and Dirk Jones. We catch up with both fighters to get their thoughts on the match up.

KJ: What is your prediction on your upcoming fight?

Dirk Jones: My prediction on this fight is going to be like i predicted every fight. At the end of the night the announcer will yell "winner by KO, and new... This fight will be a nasty close range war and will be won by nutrition and athleticism. 

Jason Newman: I think it should be an action packed fight from start to finish! The last few I wasn't able to train much. This time is different!

KJ: What have you been doing to prepare for your opponent?

DJ: I been training my ass off and adding new training methods to get ready, hard work and dedication. I have been running more and focusing on explosiveness. I have added a lot of old football drills from my high school days to help my footwork. I really focused on muscular endurance because i want to produce a lot of volume in this fight. But dont get me wrong i know hes going to come out with a chip on his shoulder because of how well he did last fight. I was very impressed thats why Im training the hardest I can.

JN: Just grinding, from strength and conditioning training to cardio, technique and sparing!

KJ: What do you feel your strengths are?

DJ: My strengths vary in a lot of ways. I feel like Im the faster, stronger, smarter, and more athletic than he is. I also he thinks he going to have a hard time dealing with my devastating knees and stance changes. I have the cardio to take him into deep waters. Im an unpredictable fighter and that makes for a bad night for whoever i face.

JN: Honestly everywhere standing I'm always working on new things to bring to the fight!

KJ: How do you see the fight going?

DJ: Im going to dictate the whole fight because i keep my opponents guessing and working. Im not going to take a step back like his last opponents. I will continue to show new looks and angles and have him second guessing. I think the first round might go to him because I know hes going to come out hard. Im going to let him get that steam out then go to work.

JN: I believe I will set the pace and distance like I have before in previous matchups, I tend to have a gritty style that's hard to figure out!

KJ: What is your current record?

DJ: My current record is 2-1 in k1. If I didn't have any health issues, I would have gotten more fights in but can't rush myself into something. My only loss was a split decision which everyone thinks I won the fight. I feel good riding a 2 fight KO streak. I have my coach Jason to thank for the impressive wins because he really sculpts me into a Thai monster. He motivated me to do my all these last few fights.

JN: 5-3-1 in kickboxing/Muay Thai.

KJ: What will winning this match will mean to you?

DJ: My objective with winning this fight is to get my name out there in St Louis, I want people to see my name on the fight card and be like damn Im definitely going to the fight now. I want to speed my career and put some big names on my resumes. I want my whole division to avoid me. Jason is a hell of a fighter and a win over him will bring raw talent towards me. I want to produce a Floyd Mayweather type environment to the MMA and kickboxing world.

JN: Winning this match means I go home with MY belt, and the title of being the prime FS Muay Thai champ!

KJ: What should fans expect?

DJ: The fans should expect to get their money worth Oct 3rd. The way me and Jason fight makes an
intriguing fight. He will do whatever possible to get his hand rose. I will do whatever possible to send him towards that canvas.

JN: The fans can expect me to come out and go for it , they'll see me in better shape than they have before, I'm fighting at 145 which means I have to diet and keep a strong training schedule something I haven't always done.

KJ: How has your training been for this fight?

DJ: I have been training with nothing but the best talents to help me prepare for this fight. I done sparred with talented Ammy fighters like Rodney cotton who up and coming, everybody in the gym has been pushing me to greatness. I also had tough sparring with professional fighters like Luke Nelson and Adam Osmoe. I also been talking to Duke Roufus time from time about different technique and game planning, he's been a big help.

JN: I've been working with a wide range of guys, local pros Ken Porter, Yohance Flagler, Ty Flores, and Kyle Kurtz. Local Ammys like Andrew Decker, James Mottershead, and my brothers Erik and Damian Newman. Also my Muay Thai coach Shannon Samuels and MMA coach Steve Berger! The list goes on and on!

Tickets are available at

Fight card subject to change

JP Gillespie vs David Steffan -- Fighting for Autism Title
Jason Newman vs DJ Jones -- 155 Muay Thai Title
Aushton Dickerson vs Trevon Crawford MMA
Luis Pena vs Cody Huff K1
Mike Nguyen vs David Luper MMA
Jonny Cox vs Jon Rosener MMA
Gaige Owens vs Brayden Newbold K1
Liz Turpin vs Collette Gille K1
Steven Colemen vs Travis Crain MMA
Mimi Kutzin vs Lyz Lumpkins K1
Dylan Mallette vs Braden Nagle K1
Savanah Shahan vs Kara Vaninger K1
Orel Dahan vs Clayton Whaley K1
Jared Medley vs TBA K1
Chris Ebers vs Cody Swartz K1
Raja Sing vs TBA MMA