Many soldiers who decide to leave the military put their training to use in civilian careers. James Quigg is no different, although his career choice is somewhat unusual.
He's a professional mixed martial arts fighter known as the Gentleman Brawler.
"It can be pretty miserable to fight me, even if you're winning," said Quigg. "I'm not afraid of the fight."
A wrestler since high school, Quigg was first introduced to mixed martial arts at West Point. He credits his training at the Combatives schools at Fort Bragg with launching his professional career.
Since leaving the military in 2014, Quigg has searched for ways to balance his dream job with the day-to-day realities of work. Most professional fighters need a reliable source of income to support themselves while they focus on training and fights, but, as Quigg pointed out, not every boss is OK with an employee who might show up with a black eye after a bout.
Teaching math and science to middle schoolers at Max Abbot Middle School in Fayetteville has proven to be ideal solution for Quigg. He enjoys the work and said his students and co-workers are enthusiastic supporters.
Though it can be challenging to teach all day and then find time to train, Quigg said he's committed to seeing how far he can go in the world of mixed martial arts.
"I was raised with the idea that it's totally OK to not be the best, but it's not acceptable to do less than your best."
Ft. Bragg Stories is a collaboration between the Fayetteville Observer and WUNC's American Homefront Project to commemorate a century of history at Fort Bragg through personal narratives. You can hear other stories in the series here. If you'd like to share your Fort Bragg story, you can send it here, or email email@example.com.