UCMMA’s Jamaine Facey Talks “Hands Up Guns Down”


To most “outsiders” the MMA scene is a violent world but to those who love, live and breathe the sport, MMA is a way of life. For fighters like Jamaine Facey, MMA has helped improve their way of life and, now Facey wants to give something back to his own community. Through his community group Hands Up Guns Down, Facey is hoping to help those less fortunate than him.

MMA Valor – So, how did Hands Up Guns Down come about?

Jamaine Facey – I started Hands Up Guns Down before I got into MMA but I didn’t really publicise it. I used to help people out by putting on things like five-a-side football teams for young kids. I was working as a lifeguard at the time and was working with kids aged 10-13 years old, helping them, mentoring them, giving them something to do. I’d meet their mums and dads so they knew what their kids were doing and I found the whole thing of helping people really rewarding.

After a while I moved into another area and met a wonderful lady who was working with the community and we talked about doing after school sessions for the kids. We started doing these groups which would get them into fitness, we’d do talks, discuss bullying and things like that. It was such a wonderful thing to be part of and, you know, I went back there recently and, after eight years, the groups are still running.

MMA Valor – Was that when you moved into MMA?

Jamaine Facey – Well, I discovered MMA at a time when there was a lot going on in my life. I had friends and people I knew either going to prison, getting killed through bad circumstances, stuff like that. I had a lot on my mind and MMA was like nothing I knew of. One thing I noticed as I watched a lot of fights was that I felt the guys weren’t doing anything to help people. There was this power with MMA that you could get a message across but most guys were just calling each other out and saying how they were going to beat each other up. I started to use those opportunities to get my “Hands Up Guns Down” message across to people and now do that at every chance I have.

MMA Valor – Did you get much help in the beginning?

Jamaine Facey – To be honest, it was just ideas and me doing things I thought would help. I had no idea how to run a business or get money in. My friends would help but people were always telling me I should get funding, do the paperwork, turn it into a charity so I started to get more clued up on it.

MMA Valor – And how did that go?

Jamaine Facey – Well, I got all the stuff I needed and sent off the request to become a charity but I was told by the people who provide the funding that there were much better causes out there for them to support. I was also told we needed a minimum of five thousand pounds in our bank account for them to help. We didn’t have anywhere near that much money so have started to raise the money.

MMA Valor – How did you do that?

Jamaine Facey – We started off with a fun day and then a black tie event which raised the five thousand we needed but after paying out the expenses we were left with about three thousand pounds. At the moment we have an ongoing target which we need to reach so we’re going to be holding more fundraising events.

MMA Valor – Is Hands Up Guns Down primarily aimed at getting kids away from the streets and gang troubles?

Jamaine Facey – The idea behind Hands Up Guns Down is more than that. It’s about having fun and enjoying things, not all the people who come are troublemakers. It’s about getting the community involved in something rewarding.

Jamaine Facey (8-6)

MMA Valor – The same reward you got from MMA?

Jamaine Facey – Well, since I found MMA I’ve learned about self-awareness and the difference between fighting and fighting on the street. Anyone can go out on the street and start a fight but if you are a good fighter you’ll know about the need for training. The thing about MMA and fighting in a competitive environment is that if you go in there and you get beaten then that is a lot different to losing a street fight. It humbles you, it makes you understand.

MMA Valor – Were you involved in gangs growing up?

Jamaine Facey – Well, I wouldn’t call it a gang but I grew up in Brixton and would hang around the streets with a few people. We’d play football, smoke weed and stuff but it wasn’t that exciting. It was more of a group of kids than a so-called gang.

MMA Valor – From your experiences do you feel enough is done by the Government to help people?

Jamaine Facey – They’re not hitting the heart of the problem which is basically, after school, there is nothing for kids to do. They shut down centres, parks and clubs so there is nowhere for kids to hang out in a safe, secure environment. It must be scary being a kid today. Some of the kids are scared to travel on public transport through certain areas and we have to use minibuses to ship kids in and out of the gym so they can come along to our classes.

MMA Valor – Are you aware of other organisations doing anything similar to Hands Up Guns Down?

Jamaine Facey – There are other clubs out there and we’ve heard from a couple of ladies who saw what we were doing and want to replicate Hands Up Guns Down for their cause. We want to talk to people about what they’re going through – whether it is bullying, STI’s, whatever is on their mind. We also want to make sure they’re involved in group activities like sports, the gym, MMA.

MMA Valor – Is this where Bandogs MMA gets involved?

Jamaine Facey – Bandogs is my gym and we definitely encourage people to come along. We have all sorts of people mentoring and helping – plumbers, policemen, electricians. We teach you to show respect no matter what.

MMA Valor – Okay Jamaine, thanks for your time. Is there anything else you want to say?

Jamaine Facey – No problem, if anyone wants to help us, donate or wants more information on Hands Up Guns Down, you can visit our website at http://www.handsupgunsdown.org

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