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Men of Mischief | Psycho Bunny

Alan Jouban

man of mischief

We tend to think of parents as being champions of pacifism—the ones who encourage us to use our words rather than our fists to solve problems and arguments. It puts Alan Jouban in the rather unique position of having to square being a professional fighter with being a father. But he and his son, Cage, are an inseparable duo—best friends, even. Of course, the fatherhood that Alan is living is very different from that of his own dad and his grandfather. But, despite that, there are some things that are still running strong in the Jouban family 30 years later.

So—I have to ask—when you were growing up, did you parents encourage you to use your words? Or was fighting something that was kind of tolerated?

Fighting or words, eh? Well I think that my parents always taught me to try to use my words to talk my way out of things. But fighting was still part of my childhood—y’know small street fights and things like that, nothing too serious. I mean—I did organize backyard boxing matches for my friends. I’d go out and buy some gloves and then we’d all box each other. I think that’s pretty much where it all evolved from—it became this competitive after-school sport between me and my friends. And then, when I finally walked into a real gym for the first time, I said to myself ‘you know what, not only do I love this, but I can make a legitimate career out of this.’

Okay, so you realized a little bit later than you could actually have your life revolve around fighting and mixed martial arts? What did you want to be when you grew up, then? What were Alan Jouban’s “childhood dreams”?

Actually, it kind of was… that. I grew up watching Rocky and Bloodsport and movies like that. And to now be a professional fighter, it’s funny, because when I was my son’s age I was watching movies like Rocky and Van Damme.

Hey, I watch those too!

It’s true. He’s watching the same movies that I did and he loves them. And, personally, I love watching him experience them. Even 30 years later, watching my kid watch the same movies I did growing up and seeing him experiencing the same things I did growing up—it’s special. I know it’s just something in us Joubans that we’re drawn to these kinds of movies and that kind of stuff in general. But, going back to the original question, my dreams were shaped by those movies that I was watching. I always wanted to a Rocky type of guy—and now I get to live that.

Brahma is a nickname that pays tribute to my grandfather. He was a big influence in my life when I was growing up. He had a farm with a lot of cows and bulls—brahma bulls.

What about you, Cage, what are your goals and dreams?

Um, to play soccer? And to beat Cristiano Ronaldo. And to get a thousand dollars! And then I’m going to take half and give half to my dad and half to my mom.

That’s awfully nice. Alan, how do you find being a father?

It’s been fun, honestly. Going into fatherhood was something that was—well—it was a totally new experience. I didn’t read any books about it; I didn’t really ask any questions before hand about what being a dad was supposed to be like. It’s been something that we took on a day-to-day basis. The one thing I knew—and that I’ve always known, really—was that I wanted to teach my son everything that I was taught. It was one of the things that I was really looking forward to—being able to show him all the things I’m passionate about and the things I learned as a kid from my dad and my grandfather. I wanted to pass all of that along, because I think they did a pretty darn good job. The journey of teaching him things and giving him the experiences that I cherish from when I grew up—that’s been one of the most fun and rewarding parts of fatherhood.

So, would you say that you’re a similar kind of dad as your father was to you?

I don’t know if I can that it’s entirely similar. I like to think of myself as being a dad who’s a mix between my father and my grandfather, and then also who I’ve always aspired to be. My son and I have a very different kind of relationship than I had with my dad or with my grandfather. He’s my only son and my profession being what it is—y’know being a professional fighter and a public figure—it calls on us to work together. That’s not something that many people have the chance to do with their children and it’s definitely not something that people were doing 20, 30, 40 years ago. I do think it’s becoming more and more common with younger dads. I’m trying to keep the fatherhood line very strong—but sometimes it’s easy to forget that I’m a father because it’s also like Cage and I are playing best friend roles for one another a lot of the time, too.

Yeah, that’s something that’s come up before—this idea of getting to work with your child being something that’s unique and satisfying in a way that’s hard to describe.

Yeah, that’s something that’s come up before—this idea of getting to work with your child being something that’s unique and satisfying in a way that’s hard to describe.

Exactly.

So, growing up, you spent a lot of time with your dad and your grandfather. Are they the ones that gave you your nickname, Brahma?

Well, in a way, yes. Brahma is a nickname that pays tribute to my grandfather. He was a big influence in my life when I was growing up. He had a farm with a lot of cows and bulls—brahma bulls. It was the environment that I grew up in and that had a huge influence on who I am today. I love watching bull-riding and we go to watch it together, Cage and I. We’ve got two bulldogs.

Yeah, we’ve got two of them! And bull horns too!

Yeah, and we’ve got bull horns and saddles throughout our house. It’s kind of come to be this theme that’s present throughout my life now. It’s representative of something that was hugely influential in my life and someone who was a huge influence on me. So, Brahma, that’s just one way to pay tribute to my grandfather.

I would never say that I’m afraid of losing a fight when I step into the cage. It’s the fear of letting everyone down. All those people—you just don’t want to disappoint them.

Speaking of bulls—here’s a philosophical question for you: Do you think that a bull and a bunny can coexist? What do you think, Cage?

Alan : What do you think, Cage?
Cage : No!
Alan : I think we could make it work…
Cage : No, no, no, no! The bull is going to stomp the bunny!
Alan : But what if it’s a psycho bunny?
Cage : Well, then the bunny would go crazy, but I still don’t think they’d be friends.

Okay, well maybe just on a tee.

Alan : Yeah, maybe that could work.
Cage : Hmmm, yeah.

Here’s another for you Cage: What piece of advice would you give to your dad’s next opponent?

Cage : Oh, that’s a good one! I want daddy to smash that guy!
Alan : But what would you tell him? Would you tell him he’s in big trouble?
Cage : Oh—yeah, definitely.
Alan : I think so, too.

And one last one for you, Cage: What are you scared of?

Cage :"There’s a lot of things, really. I’m scared of Chucky. And bulls. Because they have like—they’re just big and scary. And the dark. Oh—and losing, too.
Alan : That’s a very adult answer, Cage.

What about you, Alan? Given what you do for a living, what are you afraid of?

I think the scariest thing for me—pertaining to what I do as far as my career—is just the fear of failure. I think most people that are pushed into the limelight—I hate using that expression—they have all these people who are supporting them. Whether that’s friends and family or followers or fans. I would never say that I’m afraid of losing a fight when I step into the cage. It’s the fear of letting everyone down. All those people—you just don’t want to disappoint them. It’s like when someone dies, people aren’t really sure what to say. And when you lose a fight, or something like that happens, people don’t know what to say either. They don’t know how to approach you. It’s a feeling I never want others to have because of me—I always want people to be able to come up to me and have fun and celebrate and just have a good time.

Keep up with Alan Jouban here:

instagram.com/alanjouban

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