Ex-UFC Fighter Jimmie Rivera on His Transition to Police Work

Jimmie Rivera, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor, now balances his time between two roles. He’s a star in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and a police officer.

In August 2021, Rivera left the Las Vegas-based promotion. He then signed with BKFC last year. He co-headlined BKFC 56 on Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah. Unfortunately, he suffered a technical knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens at the end of the third frame via doctor stoppage.

When he’s not in bare knuckle contests, Rivera serves as a cop at the Elmwood Park Police Department. He admits he needs to keep himself busy. During the pandemic, he tried his hand at dispatch as the world of sports was enveloped in uncertainty.

Rivera says, “I won’t say I have ADHD, but I can’t stop. I always have to work. I’ve always got to do something. I’m all about the grinding. … It’s also very bad mentally, to not do anything. You see people who retire and they don’t do anything. They end up getting right back into it or they mentally degrade and don’t look the best anymore.”

He expressed his desire to get a little dispatch experience to Elmwood Park Police Department chief Mike Foligno. He also wanted to get his feet wet a little bit. At the same time, Foligno was planning to launch a program with Ron Schulmann, one of the co-founders of Tiger Schulmann’s.

After working dispatch, Rivera found his true calling in a new program. He gives jiu-jitsu lessons to fellow officers. According to Rivera, the benefits range from better mental health to a decrease in the use of force.

“People who are cops who are scared, they overcompensate at 100 when this could’ve been settled at a one or a zero. It didn’t have to be like that. We’ve seen it already with the Elmwood Park Police Department [N.J.]. The use of force has gone down. Complaints have gone down. It’s a completely crazy nine-day difference after doing it for a couple years, twice a year. What a tremendous difference,” he said.

Rivera believes that health is very close to mental illness. So, taking care of your health is going to be able to take care of your mental illness. Police officers, they don’t have mental illness, but they have a lot of stress. This s—t helps them a lot, just getting in, hitting a bag, relieving stress on the bag, and at the same time, getting a workout in. It’s something else they do as well.

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