VIDEO: Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson Kickboxing Icon
By Charles Parker // February 15, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Don “The Dragon” Wilson is one of the most highly respected members ever of the kickboxing community.
DON ‘THE DRAGON’ WILSON – 2015 INDUCTEE
• Full-Contact World Champion
• Kickboxing Hall of Fame
• Won 11 World Titles
DAD TOOK JOB AT SPACE CENTER
If you spent any time at Cocoa Beach’s Brassy’s Nightclub in the 1980s, you surely remember the nights the dance floor was converted to a kickboxing ring and the bouncers didn’t stop the fighting.
And surely, you remember Don “The Dragon” Wilson. He fought there 11 times in a seven-year span.
Though he was born in Illinois, like many other Brevardians, Wilson became a local when his dad took an engineering job at Kennedy Space Center.
After high school in Boca Raton, he attended the Coast Guard Academy, where he began studying karate. He returned to Brevard in 1973 and earned an A.A. in electrical engineering at Brevard Community College.
He initially planned to continue his education at Florida Institute of Technology, but as often happens, the plans changed.
Wilson decided to follow a dream and – while being trained by his brother in kung fu – began pursuit of a fighting career.
All of his first 39 fights in the 1970s and 1980s took place in Florida – most in the central part of the state. In that span, he amassed a record of 32-3-1.
He won state, U.S. and world titles in the full-contact middleweight division. He also won the full-contact light-heavyweight world title.
All in all, according to his biography, Wilson won 11 world titles with a variety of kickboxing sanctioning groups with an overall record of 72-5-2.
In one of his more publicized bouts, Wilson fought professional Dick Kimber for the cruiserweight world title in May of 1999.
According to reports at the time, “At the end of the third round, Wilson came alive and exploded with a flurry that eventually knocked Kimber to the floor motionless.”
He was named to the Word Kickboxing League Hall of Fame in 2010.
Since retiring from the ring, Wilson has worked as a commentator in Ultimate Fighting Championship matches. It was rumored that Wilson was considering a return to the ring in the UFC, but that never materialized.
Wilson made headlines after his fighting career as well. Reports said that while attending a martial arts tournament in Reno, NV, he witnessed a purse-snatching.
Wilson reportedly chased down a thief who had taken an elderly woman’s bag. He held the perpetrator in submission until the police arrived.
The Dragon has also had roles – both acting and producing – in over 50 films, documentaries, videos, and television shows since the 1980s – including the cult classic – Bloodfist.
In that film, Wilson played a dojo sensei in California who travels to the Philippines to avenge his professional kickboxer brother, who was murdered after a fight.
Don “The Dragon” Wilson was certainly the “real deal,” and one of the most highly respected members of the kickboxing community in his heyday.
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com