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Retired UFC Vet Eugene Jackson Giving Back to Community by Turning Wannabe Gangstas Into Fighters

Growing up in the gang-infested town of East Paulo Alto California, Eugene Jackson used his fists to settle any conflicts he had. He soon realized that his punching prowess could be used to earn him some cash in addition to the street cred he had behind his name in EPA, so in the 90s he began fighting in MMA where he would fight 25 times, under the UFC, Strikeforce, IVC and IFC banners against guys like Wanderlei Silva, Joe Doerksen, Jeremy Horn and Ricardo Almeida.

Having retired with a 15-9-1 record after losing to Joe Riggs in Strikeforce back in 2007, Jackson decided he wanted to give local kids a leg up that he never had so he opened up a a non-profit gym for at risk youth with his own money in 2009. The facility, which was little more than a warehouse with some mats, heavy bags and a crudely thrown together collection of weights became a hugely popular community center where teens who might normally be enticed into gang-banging would hang out every day to hone their fighting skills.

Eventually city authorities demanded improvements to the building that he could not afford and he was forced to close the gym, but that didn’t deter him.

Although the reason for opening the club wasn’t to make money, the city seemed bent on making sure he paid for all of the permits and safety precautions of a regular gym or health club, which simply was not in the budget. Unable to maintain the fees associated with running his own facility, Jackson now takes his seven fighters (including two of his own sons), who all live with him in his modest home, to a handful of gyms in the area to train twice a day for up to six hours.

Cognizant of the fact that there aren’t many options besides running with gangs, “The Wolf” says that times have changed since he was a kid and that it’s rare that arguments are settled on the street without the use of guns.

“Back then you sock someone in the mouth, it’s over; you jump someone, it’s over,” he explained to Time Magazine recently. “Now everybody’s into killing each other, so that makes it a lot worse.”

Which is the main reason he decided to do something about it and give youth in the area a viable alternative to being thugs. He says that he’ll accept any new recruits regardless of their questionable pasts as long as they dedicate themselves to the team, which he has dubbed “Team Gladiator.”

“You smile at me, I’ll smile at you in return. You frown at me, I’ll frown at you in return. So whatever you wanna give, I’m gonna give you back,” he explains. “A few of these kids are gonna be knuckleheads, no matter how much you try and do for them,” he says. “There’s just so much negative history they bring into the equation.”

Cagepotato Comments

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ArmFarmer- July 28, 2011 at 8:22 am
I don't disagree, not the best article to voice complaints. I regret detracting from what is indeed a great story. My apologies for that, it just happened to be the most recent article at the time and I didn't really think about it. Now if only I could figure out what this captcha says so that I could post this comment... lol
hitekredneck- July 28, 2011 at 6:41 am
I only registered to say this:
you guys are fucking whiners....with as many bad stories about mma fighters that are floating around, this is a breath of fresh air...if ya got bitches about the sight, send em an email, don't ruin an uplifting story like this...grow the fuck up n use yer heads...
@expectjesusbro: dude, glocks are the bomb....i carry a model 23 in .40 cal....good choice
jingzias- July 27, 2011 at 8:17 pm
intercept440- July 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm
@ perp ill look into that my hunting trip should be over a week before that.
PERPATRAITOR- July 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm
Oct 29th at Mirage. That's the date. I'm there. I needs shirts to free the potato!
kurtzkurt- July 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm
great story!!! Power to the positive people!!!

... and I agree that the new format (feature thing and out of topic articles ) is annoying... Quality over quantity would be better...
intercept440- July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm
@perp that would be sweet. all depends on the date, ive got a yealry hunting trip with the family coming up at the end of summer. lets revisit that when the time comes that the date is set. would be cool.
intercept440- July 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm
@ejb yea me to ccw kimber pro eclipse II .45
PERPATRAITOR- July 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm
@fried taco LOL!
@faghaters Sawbdos? See it's doesn't make sense...sandos fat boys! Sorry I'm not negative to this site.
@intercept...going to Diaz vs GSP?! I will be there, let's do a big cagepotato party. Let's get some shirts in that crowd!! I love this site, sorry for my "racial" comment...
O Chan- July 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm
Great story. Sucks everyone decided to use this section to bitch about the new CP format.
ArmFarmer- July 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm
Oh man, the second definition is even better: sandos an acronym for "suck a nigga dik or sumtin'!" or white boy style, "suck a nigga dick or something!
lol apparently this guy assumes that "white boy" style means that you are able to spell words longer than 3 letters, or that you don't think typing like a moron makes you sound cool or hard.. either way he's pretty much reinforcing the same racism that he probably bitches about every day.
ArmFarmer- July 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm
From Urban Dictionary.. sandos: "Suck a Nigga Dick or Sumthin'"
I'm sure that's very amusing to illiterate, low income trash. If anyone says that to me I'm just going to assume they are retarded and move along. Kind of like the dude that brought it up here, I'm not going to bother scrolling up to find his name.
ExpectJesusBro- July 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm
more then 8 children were killed last summer in rochester by stray bullets, all in the inner city (where I work)
ExpectJesusBro- July 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm
Yes, kudos intercept. I agree and do the same. 9mm glock, and I have a licence for conceal and carry...FOR PROTECTION. Not to impress and or try to scare or rob others (the gangbanger mentality I/we are refering too)
Viva Hate- July 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm
Well to jump on the shit storm of complaints, anyone know what happened with the Proving Ground piece? I was actually excited to see what became of it and thought it was suppose to start up this week.
intercept440- July 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm
expectjeseusbro, not everyone who has a gun has an inferirorty complex, i carry a gun . cause im tired of reading in the papers all the random murders here in las vegas commited by gangbangers, and illegals, there's a pizza joint i always go to down the road from my job, where a guy was shot pointblank and killed just so some illegal could get his 40 bucks. ya got to be prepared for the worst sometimes man.
intercept440- July 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm
i agree and i agree again
ExpectJesusBro- July 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm
Aren't you the one I saw trying to feed a carrot to a bus the other day? How do you know about fax machines? People actually use those still? I think I would send that news into
Are you from memphis and carry a gun to impress your homies? Maybe you can sign up for Eugene Jackson's gym too and get yourself out of the ghetto.
Fried Taco- July 27, 2011 at 11:57 am
Dang, link didn't work, try this trucker hat. Now the joke is ruined.
Darkside- July 27, 2011 at 11:55 am
Man, I miss the old Cagepotato. This used to be such an awesome MMA website.
Fried Taco- July 27, 2011 at 11:55 am
@PERPATRAITOR - Not sure why you're so big on Students Against Narcotics and Destructive Oriented Situations, but I bought you a trucker hat so you can show your support proudly.
Fried Taco- July 27, 2011 at 11:51 am
Have you tried the audio Captcha? It's even funnier/worse/whatever.
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- July 27, 2011 at 11:36 am
im sorry you feel that way. why dont you fly to chicago to get the next taxi to fedors hotel, go up to room 398, knock on the door, ask the translator what his strategy is for this saturday, go down the hall, knock on room 392's door, ask them to borrow a pen and paper, go down stairs, have a drink, write down fedors response, walk down the block to fedex, or office depot, whichever is at your convenience, and fax over the news to cage potato
PERPATRAITOR- July 27, 2011 at 11:33 am
@Jesus and Antfarmer
Look up Sandos @urbandictionary. Do that and move on.
ExpectJesusBro- July 27, 2011 at 11:26 am
I wish I could post a picture of what the captcha looks like right now... The first part isn't even letters. Its 3 lines scratched across a rectangle. How does one even begin to type that?