I have had jobs in the past where I had no personal investment. I know what it’s like to not be into a job. I know the feeling of just going through the motions in order to earn a paycheck. The process can be a mind-numbing one, but sometimes it’s necessary to serve time in some type of hellish work environment in order to put food on the table. I don’t recommend it, but when it's necessary, you do what you have to.
In some instances, I got out as soon as I was able to; in others, the pay was good and I sloughed through the days, hating every minute of them. These jobs didn’t involve the threat of physical danger, so there was minimal risk involved in hanging around while I wasn’t into the work.
Some jobs don’t provide that kind of luxury—being a professional mixed martial artist is one of those jobs. If a fighter starts thinking that maybe he's not too into his work, it may be time to get out, to take a breather and enjoy life.
That brings us to Jonathan Brookins.
You know Brookins, the winner of Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter; the 27-year-old who just lost his second consecutive fight in the UFC when Dustin Poirier tapped him out in the first round of their December 15 bout. It seems Brookins’ mind was not fully invested in the Poirier fight—not the ideal situation when your job is standing inside a cage while another man tries to cause bodily harm to you, and because of that, he’s walking away from the sport for now.
Brookins will be heading to India in the not-too-distant future, where he will pursue what was really on his mind during the Poirier fight—finding a more fulfilling existence. Speaking to Fightland's Josh Rosenblatt, Brookins said:
I’m looking for a mindset to exist better. I think that I can find a happiness about myself, a way of living, where my constitution is more sound. I think that martial arts has been a positive, but it hasn’t been as much as it could be. I want to find martial arts for real. Yoga just seems to me like one of the oldest forms of martial arts. It seems like the very beginning.
So, Brookins is off to India to get his mind right, to pursue something more than riches, fame, reputation or titles. He’s out to become a better person—a commendable pursuit, and one that we don’t hear about too often these days.
There will be those that say Brookins is throwing away a dream job. These people will question the logic of “throwing away” what they consider to be a dream job—making a living as a professional athlete—but I have a feeling that Brookins couldn’t care less if people think that.
Brookins should be applauded for this move, and it will be interesting to see where this next step leads him.