Palm Beach County Deputy Eric Swiger is a former MMA fighter. And last week, Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies met with him for a three-day camp to learn how to fight MMA style and how to spot perps who are trained to fight MMA style.
It makes sense. MMA is becoming one of the most popular sports to watch and learn, and cops believe that more and more bad guys are training as mixed-martial arts fighters, and before you know it, the streets of South Florida is going to look like a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.
Because MMA's popularity has exploded (the Ultimate Fighting Championship of Fox 4 drew 2.4 million viewers according to Nielsen Media Research), deputies in Palm Beach and Broward counties are required to attend sessions once a year to update their defensive techniques.
Brann Redi, a Broward County Sheriff's deputy, is a professional MMA fighter and is training for his next fight in August.
As part of their lesson, deputies are being taught to look for tell-tale signs of a trained MMA fighter -- cauliflower ears, calluses on knuckles, suspects that stand in a wide stance, things of that nature.
They're also trained to look for things like MMA bumper stickers, T-shirts, and board shorts, although in South Florida those things also serve as a means to spotting a douchebag, so cops need to be wary.
Still, cops understand that, with the influx of MMA gyms popping up everywhere, the perps are training hard. And, therefore, police need to train too.
"I've heard a lot of stories of guys going after deputies with double-leg takedowns," Swiger says. "Deputies are definitely seeing it out there, but we're trained to defend ourselves."
Just a tip to Palm Beach County and Broward County sheriff's deputies from the Pulp: You may also want to be on the alert for bros who take off their shirts and yell out "COME AT ME, BRO!" before a fight. Those guys are usually not MMA fighters.