Jimmie Rivera has been “working [his] ass off” ahead of his BKFC 56 mega-fight against Jeremy Stephens on December 2nd. Outside the squared circle, the former top-5 UFC bantamweight has made massive strides in his career.
During the pandemic, Rivera’s beloved wife asked him a life-changing question: What were his plans after he retires from fighting? Following that conversation and a fruitful discussion with the Chief of Elmwood Park Police, Michael Foligno, Rivera had some direction.
Improving The Relationship Between Cops & The Community
Chief Foligno and Rivera founded a program called “Guardian Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics.” Program sessions occur at the Tiger Schulmann’s Martial Arts gym in Short Hills, New Jersey. It gives law enforcement a unique skill set to de-escalate fatal situations without hurting themselves or civilians.
“When you can defend yourself without using the tools on your belt (guns, tasers, and handcuffs), then you come across people a lot more confident, and that helps,” described Rivera.
By helping educate law enforcement with less harmful martial arts techniques, Rivera has seen strides in the trust among his fellow police officers. “That [program] got me more intrigued,” he admitted. “I started dispatching a little bit. That led to going more into law enforcement. I didn’t see myself doing it, but I guess in the pandemic, [I] had a lot of time on [my] hands.”
This past September, Rivera’s title changed. He officially became “PO #154” as he was sworn in as a full-time police officer for Elmwood Park.
Looking Back On The Journey
Reflecting on the pandemic, the lifelong New Jersey native is grateful for his experiences. “I really do enjoy it, and I think it is a great way to give back besides me teaching in the community at my school,” he shared. “Getting rid of that bad character, I know, with the whole George Floyd thing. Cops got a bad rep, and again, what sucks is that you might have one or two bad apples in the bunch. That doesn’t mean the whole bunch is bad.”
Behind the fiery fists of fighters are some of the most gracious human beings on the planet. Jimmie Rivera looks to represent this group when he takes on Jeremy Stephens at BKFC 56. A win will earn him a featherweight title shot and the opportunity to return gold to his brothers at the Elmwood Park Police Department.
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