*Warning* LONG READ!
My major for college had honestly been chosen for quite sometime. I’d say since the 6th grade? So that’s roughly seven years of knowing what I want to do (to an extent). I am very fortunate when it comes to that. A lot of kids my age still don’t even know what they want to do.
I was able to take my first journalism class my senior year of high school. A class I had requested for many years but for some reason never received. Having journalism for one year and being able to snatch two awards was unexpected. It was exactly what I needed going into college. It was a huge boost of confidence. I had written (i believe) three articles for the school magazine. I re-read them and just cringe ahah. So many errors that I can’t believe got through. But hey that is just practice and I have to make mistakes if I want to evolve as a writer, speaker, and interviewer.
(Put the weed in the bag!)
Going in to college, I was looking forward to a journalism even more. But I was pretty let down with what I got. To be fair, what should I have expected from a community college? Either way, didn’t expect what I got. It was an online only class. Assignments that were just book work. And I knew this was the case ahead of time. Your first two years are dedicated to learning the history of journalism. The non-fun stuff. Or at least that’s what I was told when I visited UNR (if i’m remembering correctly). So after taking this class I grew anxious to do actual journalism work. I quickly realized I would have to do work outside of school.
Which is completely fine! I’m not complaining whatsoever about that. It’s a good way to prove to myself that this is something I actually want to do. Whenever I have free time from work and school (which is barely any) I go to Syndicate MMA. I only do Jiu-Jitsu when I go but will definitely do the Muay Thai soon. (i’d be dumb not to with how much i’m paying!)
There’s a lot of great fighters that go to the gym. People like “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Roxanne Modaferri, Joanne Calderwood, Cory Hendricks, and Jessica Rose Clark.
So I figured, why not interview a fighter? Jessica Clark seemed like a rad person to talk to. So I did some research and thought she had a great, inspirational story. And she fights soon, it’s perfect!
I emailed a friend in the journalism field, Mr. Gerbasi, and he encouraged me to ask! Told myself next time she was there and I saw her I would ask. Buttt I wasn’t seeing here there. Then I found out later she had left that gym so it made sense looking back on it. I told Mr. Gerbassi and he offered to email her manager, Danny Rubenstein. I figured this was the best move. She had to be super busy so this felt like an appropriate and smart approach. He added me to an email thread with Mr. Rubenstein and ball was in my court.
I sent the email introducing myself to Mr. Rubenstein asking for an interview with Ms. Clark and hadn’t heard anything back for about two days. Mr. Rubenstein is an EXTREMELY busy man. I knew this! After a full day of no response I had texted my friend Brooke and was like, “What if i didn’t properly send the email?! What if I blew it!?” This was all completely IRRATIONAL fear. Brooke had to remind me it had only been a DAY!
I finally received an email from Mr. Rubenstein and got a set interview time! Friday at 2:30pm! I instantly emailed him back and said I could do it! Now, I had never spoken a word to Mr. Rubenstein a day in my life. But not only did he get me an interview time, he said he could get my article on an MMA site. WHAT?! I damn near teard up reading that. He did NOT have to do that! Now I have to knock this thing out the park.
There was only one tiny problem I was afraid of. I had worked the overnight shifts at my job two days in a row prior to the interview. They were 10pm-6am shifts. So I wasn’t going to bed till around 7am. I was also given a pretty big role at work so for those eight hours, I was going at 100%. But I was not in any way going to let that stop me whatsoever! Was that an ideal interview time for me? Nope. Was I going to let that stop me? Nope. I got home at 7am and got about six hours of sleep. (Bad sleep may I add)
I woke my ass up and got ready for this interview! It was over the phone which should’ve eased my nerves. But that didn’t matter. I was SO NERVOUS! I didn’t want this interview to be awkward and a waste of Jessica’s time. I didn’t want to just ask question by question. I wanted it to flow. A normal conversation.
To an extent it did. Do I cringe hearing myself ask questions when I listen back to the recording? Yup. But I could tell I was starting to get loose and it flowed better towards the end. Either way, wish I had done better, but hey I gotta start somewhere.
Jess was just as cool as I expected. In the interview I had brought up Syndicate MMA and she told me she had actually just quit that gym. You can literally hear my mouth drop in the recording because I was not expecting that! I’m 99.9% sure that was never reported by anyone. So when I first heard it I was like “Fuck am I the first journalist to know this?! What do I do with this information?!?!” I could tell it was something still fresh and something she didn’t really want to cover. Nor did I wanna ask honestly.
I even messaged Jess on Instagram asking If it was okay to include her departure from Syndicate in the article. She said she appreciated me asking. If this is truly the field I want to be in, I do not by any means want to become that type of journalist! It’s one thing to ask hard hitting questions that deserve an answer. But I do believe there is a time and place. I was lucky enough to get the interview. Last thing I want to do is poke and nag for a reason. I didn’t feel like I needed to know. I know more journalist will find out and report on it. I’m sure some headlines will be “Jessica Clark leaves Syndicate MMA for x,y, and z Reason.” That’ll get a lot of clicks. But that’s not what I am here for. I just want to tell good stories and have good, meaningful conversations with people I think are interesting. I want to be respected by my piers in the field i’m in and by the people I interview.
(I understand I can’t satisfy everyone and i’ll have to step on some toes)
Also I was terrified to ask questions about her history of domestic abuse. But I knew I had to because it’s a very relevant topic in MMA right now. But she reassured me that she wasn’t annoyed or irritated like I had feared. I got a lot of great quotes from that question. She’s a hell of a person with an inspirational story. She’s someone I can for sure show my sister to in the future and someone i’d like my sister to look up to and maybe one day train with.
Thankfully I was able to end it on a high note. Asking her questions about Nickleback, roller coasters, pro-wrestling, and why Flashdance is the best movie to be made. (her quote, not mine). She got a good laugh out of the Nickleback question and gave me homework of watching Flashdance because I had never seen it. In fact when I said I hadn’t seen it she said, ” Dude go and watch Flashdance what the fuck?!”
At the end I had thanked her and Danny for the interview. Again, they really had no benefit in doing it. She told me that when Danny told her she had an interview with me she said, “Who the fuck is that?”. What a quote. Love that I essentially got Conor Mcgregor-Jeremy Stephens “Who the fook is that guy?!”
This was an experience I’ll never forget and hopefully the first of many! Here is a link to the article with the one and only Jessica Rose Clark!
(Updated on 12/23/18)
Boy oh boy how things drastically changed in the past few weeks. As you have noticed, there is no link to article! Unfortunately the article wont be published. The day before I woke up to a text from my mom saying, “Hey what happened with Jess?” My instinctive reaction was “Shit….”. So I checked Ariel Helwani’s twitter and saw that Jessy was pulled from the fight.
Thankfully, Jessy is alright and there was no major health issues. During the weight cut she passed out and was taken to the hospital where she received an IV. Because she was taken to the hospital and received the IV, she was forced to withdraw from the fight with Andrea Lee.
I didn’t ask what would happen to the article. That article is at the bottom of the list of priorities for everyone. So i’m just assuming it’s not happening. I mean, I do now how I can salvage the article. With the recent events of the weight cutting, I could just add that and cut the quotes about Andrea Lee. But that’s another project for another day.
Wasn’t even mad that the article wasn’t getting published (at least not at the moment?). I’m glad Clark is is okay and i’m super grateful for the experience. Even though the article isn’t out in the world, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I still got to interview Jessy, I still sent my work to Danny, and that piece of work still exist.
(Updated on 1/11/2019)
So apparently I could’ve posted the article from the beginning! Well, I posted it as its own article. I tried to update it and maybe fit her weight cut in. Go check it out!
But hey, guess that’s the fight game for ya! Thanks for reading 1764 words of nothing!