McIntosh, Davis take love for MMA into winner’s circle
March 16, 2016 11:07:57 PM
STARKVILLE — Jae McIntosh has always been intrigued by martial arts.
So after graduating from Mississippi State in 2012, he opened his own martial arts studio in Starkville, focusing mainly on Brazilian jiu-jitsu. McIntosh opened the No Limit Jiu-Jitsu Academy on Stark Road to continue his love from the sport.
McIntosh has 22 years of martial arts training, but got into Brazilian jiu-jitsu nine years ago and fell in love with it. He has been teaching the art form to other students, but used his knowledge and understanding of it to take the Summit Fighting Championship Amateur Welterweight belt title March 5 in Tupelo.
“After a while I started realizing the benefits of learning something a little more practical, so that’s why I started Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” McIntosh said. “I’ve always seen MMA (mixed martial arts), I never really cared to do it until I started competing in jiu-jitsu for a while. I kind of wanted to see what that competition would bring. There’s nothing to it other than the fact of getting in the cage and finding out what you can do.”
McIntosh defeated Blair Prince in a three round unanimous decision. He took down Prince at the beginning of each round and never took a hit from his opponent.
McIntosh has black belts in taekwondo and isshin-ryu, but said neither compare to his purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. A native of Greenville, McIntosh played two seasons (2008-09) of football at MSU as a walk-on safety.
While attending school, he was a part of the jiu jitsu club on campus and became the president. That sparked his dream of opening his own gym.
MMA is a sport that continues to grow in the United States and is becoming more and more popular each year. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is seen more and more in the sport.
“It plays a phenomenal role,” McIntosh said. “It’s very, very important to have a ground game. It keeps you safe for one. I can say happily that I’ve never been hit significantly in a fight because Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an incredible form of self defense. You learn to take fights to the ground. The ground game is one place where strength, speed and athleticism doesn’t play a role. It’s kept me safe.”
McIntosh wasn’t the only one from his gym to have success at the Summit Fighting Championship. McIntosh’s pupil Brandon Davis beat Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Thomas Vasquez in a unanimous decision in a professional fight. Davis said it was the biggest win of his professional career and is his third in a row.
Davis had a winning amateur record and won two title belts. As a professional he is 4-2.
McIntosh and Davis have been training for six years now and it has really helped Davis in his career.
“Everything I’ve learned has been from him and our coaches in Jackson and Atlanta,” Davis said. “For the most part it’s been really good. I’ve learned a lot from him. We get each other better.”
In McIntosh’s eyes, the win was a big confidence boost for Davis. He expects good things to follow for Davis as he is waiting on an opponent for the Summit Fighting Championship Featherweight July 30 in Tupelo.
“I see a lot of potential,” McIntosh said. “He’s still young in his pro career. He’s done well so far. He did incredible as an amateur fighter. Now since he’s been a pro fighter he’s had some tough fights.”
Although McIntosh and Davis have had success in MMA events, that’s not what his academy is about. McIntosh said only 10 percent of his students compete in MMA.
He is mainly focused on teaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu because it can be learned by almost any person and it is very practical. Called the “gentle art” because there are no strikes thrown, Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses on grappling and ground fighting.
McIntosh said many people that come to his gym are there to get in shape or are trying to learn self defense.
“We’ve had every interest come through the door,” McIntosh said. “I’ve had a rape victim come through the door, assault victims, spousal abuse victims, I’ve worked with many police officers from the Starkville police department, many military personnel. We have a wide list of people who just want to pick up a new hobby, stay at home moms, stay at home dads and college professors. It’s just like a melting pot.”
McIntosh teaches a kids class for ages 5-12 and then teaches another class for those that are 13 years or older. His gym is an affiliation of his head profession Jarrett Becks who has a gym in Jackson.
McIntosh has had to use his training working as a security guard and as a bouncer. He worked both jobs when he opened the gym and said there were some nights that when he had beer bottles and punches thrown at him.
“If they throw the punches, I take them to the ground, I pin them there and I just let the cops come get them,” McIntosh said. “I don’t let them up until the cops get there.”
McIntosh’s win is simply just an achievement. He doesn’t view it as the beginning of a professional career in MMA.
He said he has never considered competing professionally in MMA because his love from Brazilian jiu-jitsu is so strong.
“What I’ve always viewed more so as a passion for me is the Brazilian jiu-jitsu itself,” McIntosh said. “Winning the belt was a great thing, but as soon as I got done with the MMA fight it was back to training jiu-jitsu to get ready for the world championships in that.”
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Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.