John Gotti, the infamous mob boss nicknamed the "Dapper Don," has been dead for 15 years. He's still a known name in New York, but nationwide, the Gotti legacy of violence and graft is fading from public memory.
His grandson John Gotti III aims to change that where the violence is concerned—but fully within the bounds of the law, and with some killer mixed martial arts skills.
His debut will happen on his late granddad's 77th birthday.
The Post quoted match promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr., who made it clear that this is no stunt. After all, Gotti III has 5-1 record as an amateur, and frankly, he's a pretty impressive dude. "The kid is real," Burchfield told the paper. He also said Gotti is "something very special."
"He's built like Superman," Burchfield reportedly said, "You can see the agility and speed that he has. He’s equally talented standing up as on the mat."
Burchfield also said—apparently without irony—"He’s surely not any kind of a wiseguy."
After the younger Gotti's father John Gotti Jr. was done with six years in prison on racketeering charges, the Post reports the pair bonded over watching boxing and MMA. Eventually Gotti III caught the fighting bug and switched his attention from team sports and bodybuilding to kicking ass in the Octagon.
Bleacher Report interviewed Gotti in July. It was clear he understood his family legacy:
"There's no getting around it. Throughout my career, the name is always going to be attached to me," Gotti told Bleacher Report. "My father and my grandfather, they're a part of me. But this is a different avenue that I'm taking. Nobody in my family ever pursued sports to this degree or became a professional athlete. They never went down that road, so this is a whole different road I'm going down. It's not like my name is Frank like my brother. I share the name 'John Gotti.' I want to put it in a positive spotlight and show people that I'm a hard-working kid and I'm dedicated to this game."
It's easy to tell from Gotti III's social media, though, that there are elements of his family's reputation he's happy to embrace—like his grandfather's "Dapper" rep.
Will "John Gotti" go from a name synonymous with organized crime to a name noted for skill in the Octagon?
We'll find out when the Don's grandson steps onto the mat on October 27.