This local TV news interview with mixed martial arts coach Greg Jackson doesn't break any news for anyone who follows the sport, but it's interesting for a few reasons anyway.
For starters, it's a reminder of how far MMA is from being mainstream: When a local channel (in this case, KRQE in Albuquerque) does a show on MMA, they feel the need to spend a full minute telling the viewers to brace themselves because it's "not for the faint of heart." It's just assumed that most of the viewers will have no idea what MMA is, and will be turned off when they see the footage.
But once we get that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, the interview is also interesting because Jackson does such an impressive job of portraying MMA as a cerebral exercise, not a violent competition.
"It's a scientific endeavor," Jackson tells the hosts of the show. "If you aren't educated you're in trouble."
Jackson adds that he views self-defense as a necessary life skill, and that he thinks he's doing a public service by teaching it.
"I was raised by hippie parents," Jackson said. "They drilled into my head, happiness comes from helping people."
In Part 2, Jackson turns into a pitch man for his gym:
"The common misconception is that you're going to go in and get beat up," Jackson said of people stepping into his gym for the first time. "It's nothing like that at all. We're super mellow, super laid back, you're just there to get in shape and work out. Fighters are actually a very small part of what we do. Fighters are my morning. The rest of the day we're training normal people to learn self defense and have fun. You're going to do it in a fun and safe environment."
And in Part 3, Jackson gives one of his fans a birthday cake:
Overall, Jackson comes across like a kindly Little League coach. Maybe some day news reports about MMA can focus entirely on the good people involved in the sport, and completely skip that opening minute about how barbaric it is.
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