UFC-style training keeps kids away from gangs

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Mixed martial arts is helping kids stay out of gangs in the Tri-Cities.

At an early age, Jordan Greatorex was going down the wrong track in life. Hanging with the wrong classmates led him to not much success at school.

"Skipping school, skipping class, not doing my homework, you know, always arguing with my mom and dad," Jordan said.

All that changed when mixed martial arts - otherwise known as UFC - came into his life. He started learning how to fight and box: not against people, but for mental discipline. Born Again Soldiers Fighting Academy helped him learn self discipline and, most importantly, a sense of belonging.

"You come to a place where you have a sense of family, a sense of home, a sense of belonging, where you can actually come do something with your life," Greatorex said.

It's that sense of belonging that his coach says causes gangs to thrive.

"They are looking for that sense of belonging, so they go to the streets," Dustin Martin said.

Born Again Soldiers has helped almost 10,000 kids here in the Tri-Cities in the eight years it's been open, and Martin says only a handful have gone back to gangbanging. He believes his model of instilling that sense of belonging is the only way to keep kids out of gangs.

"Give them that sense of belonging, and then also give them discipline, give them something to do physically, it helps," Martin said.

Dustin feels confident in his program, and, out of the 10,000 kids he's helped, he says only three are back in gangs now.