As the head of the Ohio Athletic Commission since 2004, Bernie Profato has been in close contact with some of MMA's best, and he told Cagewriter that he has always been impressed with the fighters. No episode impressed him more than when three former UFC champs all played a hand in turning his grandson's grades around.
"When Randy [Couture] was in Columbus, my grandson was having some problems in algebra, and he's a big MMA fan. I talked to Randy about it. Later, when he was in town for the WEC, he asked, 'Hey Bernie, how's your grandson?' and when you think about all the people around him, he remembered that. I said, 'Hey, he got that D to a B.' Randy says, 'Let me give him a call.' I gave him my cell phone and he left a message because he was in school.
"That night we were having dinner, and it was Randy, Brock [Lesnar] and Forrest [Griffin], and Randy asks if my grandson got the message. I said yes, and thanked Randy because my grandson really appreciated it. Brock said, 'What's that?' and I said, 'Well, he brought his D to a B.'
"'He didn't get an A?' he said, so I gave the phone to Brock, and he called my grandson and said, 'I'll come and kick your butt if you don't get that grade to an A.' Then Forrest got on the phone and said, 'Listen, Daniel, you're doing a great job, son. If this big guy gives you any more [expletive], me and Couture will kick the hell out of him. One of us can't, but both of us can!'
"Last year, during Strikeforce, Dan Henderson called and talked to him. Do you know what that does for this kid? He went from a D in three subjects to a B+ average. That's because these guys took the time to talk to the kid and say, 'You've got to get to school and learn.'
"Because these guys are educated. You're not dealing with a bunch of dummies. You're dealing with a bunch of guys with college educations. That's what they're telling my grandson. Football is second, but an education is first. When he's hearing it from these guys, he's going out and putting his nose to the grindstone. They turned him around."