Mixed Martial Arts veteran Fasi Jesse’s hands were fast and like guns they were considered a deadly weapon thus the nickname “Quikdraw.” But more than his trademark fighting skills, Jesse is best remembered for showing respect to the sport and his opponents on the eight sides.
News on Jesse’s passing in Hawaii due to cancer broke yesterday, bringing back memories of his impressive performances in the octagon cage and how his attitude had endeared him to local MMA fans.
“Fasi was always a mild- mannered, soft-spoken, very respectful, and quiet guy. He got along with everyone and was always focused and disciplined at work and in training,” said Trench Tech co-founder and owner Cuki Alvarez, who took Jesse under his wing when the latter showed interest in MMA in the early 2000s.
“Fasi used to work as a beach boy and I have known Fasi way before he joined our gym. I was a parasailing captain at Advanced Marine Sports and Fasi at one time was my co-worker. He worked on small boats as a deck hand. In 2007, he asked if he can join our team and I immediately said yes! He was always a hard worker and I just knew his hard work ethic would easily translate into his MMA fight training. He was also very naturally athletic and played basketball in the local leagues in the early 2000s,” said Alvarez, adding that his former business partner, Randy Taylor, was the one who gave the nickname to Jesse.
The Pohnpei-born athlete had his MMA pro debut on Aug. 2008 via Gorilla Warfare 1: Predator or Prey and won via split decision against Nate Flores. Jesse went on to prevail in his first five bouts before ending the streak on Dec. 18, 2009 when he lost (submission) to Guam’s Alex Castro in Trench Warz 11: Redemption.
Based on sherdog.com records, Jesse had 13 fights and earned a 9-4 record, winning his last two assignments before calling it a career in 2012 where he defeated Guam’s Ryan Toves (arm-bar submission at the 2:59 mark of the Round 1) in Rites of Passage 12: Unstoppable. Out of those victories, Alvarez would always remember that one against California’s Will “The Kill” Chope in the ROP 10: Bad Intentions on March 11, 2011.
“He fought a 6’4” tall pro fighter from the states who lived and trained MMA professionally in Thailand. His height was always a factor in all his fights. Fasi actually was able to head kick him, take him down, and submit him and got the victory in front of his hometown crowd. It was then when he became a local MMA superstar and that fight opened the eyes of scouts from the PXC. So in a sense, that fight catapulted his career,” Alvarez said.
Jesse may have developed a reputation as an MMA fighter, making him a big threat to every opponent, but his demeanor on the eight sides was even more noticeable.
“We fought a fun fight and had some awesome memories after. He was a great fighter and a respectful one. A true island warrior,” said Guam’s Robert Wusstig in his Facebook post.
Sen. Vinnie Sablan (R-Saipan), who watched several MMA fights, including those that featured Jesse, remembered a fighter who let his game do the talking every bout.
“Always a true sportsman during his bouts. You would never see Fasi trash talk or disrespect his opponents,” Sablan said.
Rep. Luis John Castro (R-Saipan), who was the ring announcer in Trench Tech-organized events, also had high praises on the late Jesse.
“I first met Fasi when I got on board as Trench Tech’s ring announcer. From the moment he stepped into the cage, I was impressed by how he performed from bell to bell. His speed and endurance were the stuff most fighters wish they had. And he was by far, one of my favorite fighters to call into the ring. As intimidating as he could be when he was your opponent, Fasi was one of the kindest, most genuine people you’d ever come across. He was very humble and a guy who was true definition of a sportsman,” Castro said.
Castro once worked on Jesse’s corner in an off-island event and recalled how the MMA veteran opted to sleep on the floor of their hotel room.
“The room they gave us was enough to a fit all of us with a bed of our own. But, being a true island boy he slept on the floor. I believe according to Cuki, he said the carpet was more comfortable than the bed,” Castro said.