July 2018 - The Sports Connection: Maurice Jackson
In the streets of Chicago, it was a necessity to learn how to protect yourself. A lesson that Maurice Jackson learned at a very young age. Jackson has found a place in the field of MMA and found his training in wrestling, or as Jackson likes to call it, “wrastling,” and boxing only helps in his development.
So, an MMA fighter? It makes us want to ask, what was like life as a kid. Was it just destined to happen this way?
Honestly, I think it was. Growing up on the southside of Chicago is never an easy thing. If you would have asked me 20 years ago about the situation I’m in now I would say you're crazy, never. You grow up in situations that you can’t run from. So fighting is just a way of life.
How do you feel about boxers now taking the leap of going into MMA?
There’s nothing wrong with mixing things up. In life, you play the cards you’re dealt. But you look at people like Will Smith. He was a rapper at first. Well, he’s one of the best actors that we’ve seen in a long time. So, there’s a lot of people that get into other fields that just happen to be really good at branching off into different avenues. They touch people in other fields more than they do in their own field. So if you really have a passion for something, no matter what it is, I would never tell you not to do. I would say if you’re going into a field and not doing your homework, that a whole different avenue.
Where would you like to see your career go in MMA?
MMA has put me on a platform I couldn’t imagine so far. I’ve traveled the globe. I’ve worked with the best fighters, the best stars, and coming from my environment, there are kids out there that don’t see positive productivity or anything out there. They just see negative and I want to be able to give back and show them if you guys stick to something and stay positive, the sky’s the limit. There’s a lot of kids from broken homes. The crime rate is extremely high. The kids gravitate towards the streets because their parents are broken, so they don’t have too much of a role model or father figure. That’s why I want to build a gym where they don’t have to travel far. I’ll teach them brains before bronze, you know? The best talent comes out of poverty and struggle.
What piece of advice would you give someone who wants to fight MMA?
Go to college! I’m being honest. Go to college. It’s not as easy as you think. Your patience gets low, you’re missing teeth, and breaking hands. The sacrifice will be that you feel like you’re willing to die. Whatever I gotta do to be that guy, I gotta sacrifice. That’s everything you do for your love, your passion, your sport. So if you’re going into MMA, be ready for that, because sometimes you’re going to feel like you’re gonna die. Whether it’s the weight cut, whether it’s the physical abuse, getting up the next day and doing it again. So you gotta have love and passion and at the end of the day, you gotta have fun with it. I’m crazy in the gym sometimes. I’m one of the biggest clowns. I mess with all the fighters, I harass people - I mess with my coaches. I make it fun and you gotta stay persistent.