Bathurst — CCNB, with campuses in Bathurst, Campbellton, Grand Falls and Dalhousie, is a college known for practical training in disciplines ranging from culinary arts to carpentry to metalwork. Mixed marital arts are extremely popular in the northern part of the province, so CCNB has decided to capitalize on this trend and finally offer MMA courses.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC for short, has become the goal for amateur mixed martial arts fighters. The demand for UFC training is high, with most young fighters aiming to “go pro” and move to the States to pursue full-time MMA. To keep young people in the province, the schools will be giving courses that teach these coveted fighting skills.
“To entice our youth to stay in New Brunswick, we need to offer them a program that’s tailored to their dreams and goals,” said CCNB recruitment officer Elise Robichaud. “CCNB started recruiting directly from Naturally Fit gyms with fliers and free protein shakes, and our enrollment for the coming term spiked almost immediately.
“People just don’t want to learn to become secretaries or laboratory assistants or transport truck drivers anymore — they want the glitz and glamour and prestige that they think accompanies mixed martial arts,” Robichaud continued. “They want the hands-on, tactile approach to learning that comes with punching and kicking and karate-chopping an opponent.”
Brock LeBlanc, 20, of Bathurst said that after high school he had trouble finding a post-secondary education that appealed to him, so he just decided to work out all the time instead. This fall, though, he plans to combine his love of rigorous exercise with his need for a paying vocation by studying MMA.
“This lady came into the gym and saw me and a buddy fighting, and she just waited till he was carried out on a stretcher and then came up to me with this big spiel about how I should come to CCNB instead of ‘wasting away’ at the gym,” he somehow recalled despite maintaining a severe head injury.
“The pamphlet says there’s gonna be courses in submission holds, in grappling, clinching, striking, takedowns and even a course just teaching illegal moves like headbutting, striking an opponent’s spine or kneeing them in the head. That’s stuff that until now I had to teach myself.”
Because MMA is traditionally a dangerous sport with few rules, it has been banned by many governments. New Brunswick, though, is embracing it.
“We know that many young men and a few women think that getting to be in UFC is their ticket out of this hellhole,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “But if we can grow the MMA sector at home, we stand a chance of creating jobs in the field and becoming a competitor.
“Most people don’t know this,” Gallant digressed, “but I’ve actually tried my hand at MMA. I’m a bit rusty but I think I could throw my weight around a bit. Check it out…”
He then did a series of weird maneuvers that were definitely not part of MMA…or any sport, for that matter.