Eugene “the Wolf” Jackson, UFC fighter to saving livesDec 15 2011, Posted in: Fighters, Fighters video
UFC and MMA veteran Eugene “the Wolf” Jackson has taken a different path than most people who are involved in the fight game today.
Born and raised in the rough streets of East Palo Alto, California, Eugene Jackson has undergone a tough road his entire life, which eventually led him to over twenty professional MMA fights against the likes of Ricardo Almeida, Jeremy Horn, and Wanderlei Silva. Nowadays, Jackson arguably uses his martial arts training in an even more productive way. Instead of focusing exclusively on getting his hand raised after 15 grueling minutes inside a ring or cage, he instead opts to make his hometown community a better place.
Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos, California is the stomping grounds for Eugene Jackson’s fight team, Undisputed Gladiators. In addition to training his sons in the sport of MMA, he opens his doors to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have much of a chance at all in life.
“The origin of the team was…my youngest son actually wanted to get out of football and get into fighting. And then, my oldest son ended up going to college for football and decided he didn’t want to play football anymore. That’s all they ever did their whole life…they never did the wrestling, they never really did the jiu jitsu. When that came, a lot of their friends fell in love with it, so we really started working with it,” said Jackson.
Importanty, Jackson added, “Somebody got on me about working with the inner-city kids. Like, ‘Gene, why aren’t you helping anybody from your city? There isn’t a whole lot of people who are famous in any type of way out of the city, why don’t you help bring that back?’ And it just caught on like wild fire. So, it’s working really well.”
Despite rough upbringings of these inner city kids that Jackson trains, he has faith in their abilities as human beings, and their potential as fighters.
“Anybody who is a real fighter [is] the brokest of the broke. They don’t have anything. So, if this is a dream you want to commit [to], I want to give you something that wasn’t given to me. I had to go work all day and then try to make it to the gym. I want to give them a chance. So here, I’m your scholarship fund. Now, do something with it,” said Jackson.
Given his background, having a nickname like “the Wolf” is really fitting for someone like Jackson in more ways than one.
“I had a predatory style. So I was the kind of guy who stalked you. Everyone said when I started getting in a certain way, I looked like a wolf who was about to pounce on something…I like to take it a little bit further and say that because I do engulf everybody like family, how wolves are the one pack that goes over there and you can have the mother die, and the mother from another pack will help raise those cubs. And, so, it actually became fitting later, because when I started helping raise other people’s cubs, it’s actually really worked.”
To some, the industry of MMA today might be perceived as mostly fun and games, or glitz and glamour. However, Jackson is using MMA as a sport and art to clean up some serious, real problems that his community faces today.
“I was watching my sons’ friends get killed and stuff like that, so then it was like, ‘Man, I need to really do something about grabbing these kids. I love these kids, I’m crying at their funerals because I was that close to them. I bought them food, they spent time at my house for years. I’m not talking about just for a year or two, I’m talking about ten or fifteen years, and you watch these kids go to prison, get shot, and die, so it made me say, ‘I’ve gotta do something.’”
At the end of each day, Jackson is confident that he is making a difference, and intends to continue his efforts by turning otherwise good kids’ lives around one at a time.
“That one kid might be the one who breaks into your house…rob you…shooting you…I’m trying to stop that now so that when he becomes a fan of [MMA], they come [the other] way…If you’re a drug dealer, we can fix that. If you got in fights, we can fix that. If you’re a gang banger…we can fix that too.”
Intertwining public service with mixed martial arts is a novel and effective concept that Jackson is very much committed to. When asked whether or not he would ever make another run of his own in MMA, Jackson doesn’t rule out that possibility. However, he is more than happy where he’s at.
“It’s actually fun getting to eat what I want to eat. It’s actually fun where I’m not so beat up and I’m sleeping in my car because I’m too tired to drive home. So, it’s kind of nice being on this side of it now.”
Undisputed Boxing Gym is located at 883 E. San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos, California. For more information, call (650) 631-3781.
By: Alan J. Chang, FightStylez
Video & Photography by: Dave Fong