Much like the battle that he endures every time he steps into the octagon Jimmy Jennett also fights for something that has long since been washed away from the public eye for some time now. Between him and his organization he is fighting to raise awareness about youth drug and alcohol prevention. Checkered Past MMA is Jimmy’s organization which he has lead from day one and their goal is simple: build a genuinely positive community. That is why in a day and age where it has become harder to care for children due to various constraints Jimmy and his organization have taken it upon themselves to mentor children on life lessons which are so invaluable nowadays. Their lessons are about making good decisions, maintaining healthy relationships and having strong positive goals for yourself.
Originally founded in 2011, Checkered Past MMA (CPMMA for short) from Eugene in Oregon has been actively working with youth for half a decade now. Throughout CPMMA’s growth their philosophy has remained the same however. They want to do everything they can to be active in young people’s lives while making a difference. That is why they go around from school to school and from event to event hosting various activities to get youth involved in their program. The platform they use is mixed martial arts but they have even said themselves that it is not about the activity but instead about the mindset that comes with it. The particular point they always want others to know is that it doesn’t matter what activity you are doing to stay healthy as long as you are working hard to maintain positive relationships while staying focused on achieving your goals. One point Jimmy even makes at the end of every session is that he always reminds everyone of the value that comes from making good choices and hanging out with quality people because it is from those good choices and quality people that great things can happen.
What makes CPMMA such a unique organization is where it came from and where it is going. The name checkered past has a special meaning for founder Jimmy Jennett because it is something he can directly relate to. Growing up he had struggles with drugs which eventually landed him in prison. During his time in confinement he came to the realization that this wasn’t the life he had ever envisioned for himself so instead he decided to make a change. After leaving from prison he tattooed the words “Checkered Past” on his back as a reminder of what had happened to him and from that moment on he became committed to going forward in a new direction. That is why he founded CPMMA with the goal to make a difference in his community. As he has even said so himself his program is not about him atoning for any mistakes in his personal life. It is instead about the children that he now mentors because he wants to take his own personal life experiences and help teach others how to grow. He hopes to make an impact in others’ lives and that is why he does his MMA clinics to get youth involved and having fun.
As his nonprofit continues to grow so do his plans too. Jimmy always uses the phrase “one day at a time” to take things and put them into perspective as new sets of kids enroll in his clinics. One day at a time is the mentality he chooses to embody as he continues to build his creation. Jimmy has even once stated that he eventually would like to create a low cost gym where kids can come and train while being mentored. This is why he likes to take things one day at a time because just like his sobriety Jimmy values the positivity that CPMMA brings to his everyday life. Not only does he get to do what he absolutely loves but he gets to make a sincere difference in lots of children’s lives. That is certainly something not a lot of people can get to say nowadays. For that exact reason though that is why Jimmy has said that he is committed to this for life. He is committed to this for life because he knows that growing up can sometimes be incredibly difficult and that is why he wants to be there to truly make a difference.
Attached below is a documentary detailing the story of CPMMA and Jimmy Jennett’s journey to where he is now. It is definitely worth a watch if you have the time. Below the video I will also be posting a link to his Facebook if you want to check out what events he has coming up.