The moment Jacob Volkmann pulled out his now infamous 'glassectomy' joke into Joe Rogan's microphone in the UFC Octagon, we knew we had to meet minds with the part-time chiropractor and full-time dad of three. We are no strangers to bad jokes on MiddleEasy, and Volkmann is a dude who in the last few years has had a visit from the Secret Service stemming from Volkmann saying he wanted to fight Barack Obama, and then landed a subsequent spot on the Tonight Show for his comments. Was Volkmann some sort of maverick who was the Minnesota wrestler version of the Diaz brothers? When behind the mic, does Jacob turn into one of the lost Avengers named The Volk-Mann, throwing verbal middle-fingers in the air, or was he just some normal guy that is kind of misunderstood?
I'm not sure if Volkmann sat down, but I sat down for our phone interview today to get to the bottom of what makes Volkmann tick
With the presidential elections right around the corner, and your past of having a vocal opinion on the government, I'm happy we finally got to talk to you. I wanted to kind of pick your brain as a chiropractor on ObamaCare and the health industry. Can you educate me on the impact ObamaCare will have on your chiropractic business and the alternative health industry?
Well, there are some good things. The bad is that it does nothing to regulate the insurance companies. All it does is regulate the people and making them pay. Everyone has to pay or get fined. It doesn't regulate whatever they're being paid as far as an adjustment or a surgery, it's set fees. So it doesn't regulate the insurance companies and the insurance companies sure aren't going to lose money on it, so in turn it gets taken out on the doctors. The biggest problem I have is what they're not doing to the insurance companies. The insurance companies, that's what the problem is. In my mind that's the biggest problem with healthcare.
Can you elaborate?
Well, lets say I'm dealing with Medica. I'm not dealing with Medica I'm dealing with a third-party called HSM. So when I send a claim in I send it to them, they take whatever percent right off the top because those are the people I deal with while not even talking to anyone from Medica. So that's just added cost to healthcare right there, an unnecessary cost. One of the biggest problems I'm dealing with right now is this in and out network with Blue Cross...it's unnecessary, I feel that if you go to the school, you get certified by the state and national board, you should be allowed to treat any patient and any patient should be allowed to go to you with the insurance they have. Right now, you don't have that option. You have to be in-network to be covered. Well, you get covered but there's a different fee. Does that make sense?
That's another unnecessary cost for insurance. That's what brings up the premiums and costs so much for insurance, all of the unnecessary regulations they've got. Insurance is hard, it's hard to deal with. Lots of the alternative medicines not being covered, that's hard to deal with. Another thing: both candidates said the big problem was insurance companies when it came to high healthcare costs, but they aren't doing anything to cut costs with them. I think they are getting money on the side from the companies.
My wife has been a massage therapist for years...
Yeah, that right there should be covered by insurance because for some people, that's all they need. If that helps prevent them from getting further injury or further illnesses it should be covered. I'm with you on that one.
What are your thoughts on acupuncture?
Oh, I love acupuncture. Personally, I only used it one time back when I was wrestling and I had a stinger. That was when I wrestled for the University of Minnesota. They treated me with acupuncture first, then adjusted me, and I think the acupuncture really helped relax the muscles before doing the adjustment, so that helped a lot.
Speaking of your wrestling career, is it true you defeated Rashad Evans back in college?
Yeah, I'm pretty sure he was at 174 and that would've been 2000 or 2001, it was Big Ten.
That's interesting how that worked out. You don't seem to have any issues fighting anyone. Tell us about your run-in with Hector Lombard, I really want to hear this straight from you.
Yeah because there are some people out there twisting the story a bit. Basically what happened is that he wanted to go wrestle one day. Now let me say, a couple days before that a few guys pulled me aside and said to stay away from him in sparring because he throws to knock you out, he doesn't pull back his punches for his partners at all. Which is fine, but I didn't want to deal with that because I had a fight in four weeks. I had to fight Danny Castillo, so I stayed away from him in sparring. The next day he asks me to wrestle, and no one said to stay away from him in wrestling, so I wrestled him and we got on our own mat, warming up with hand fighting and takedowns. Then we went live after a few minutes of warming up. I was pulling on his head, kind of trying to get a feel for him, I wasn't shooting too much. I wanted to feel him out before turning it up. Then he karate chops me on the side of the head and I'm like, alright, something I'm doing here is really irritating this guy. About two minutes later he pushes me away and punches me right in the face with no gloves on. I go 'what did you do that for?!' and he starts swearing and yelling at me and wants to fight me right there, so I'm like 'oh Jesus' but one of the coaches stepped in and pushed us away from each other. I kind of walked away and he kept coming to me asking me to keep rolling with him, saying 'what, are you chicken?' 'Keep rolling, keep rolling.' So I was like 'Alright, why did you punch me in the face?' I couldn't really understand him, but eventually I figured out that it was because I was collar tying him. So I just stayed away from the collar ties and basically just did some hand fighting with him. I wasn't shooting or anything because I couldn't set anything up. He's kind of a hothead.
After his loss in the UFC, Dana said he wouldn't mind Lombard going down to 170, and you've fought at 170...What do you think about that fight?
Yeah, yeah (laughs) I think I would get on him right away, I don't think his endurance is the greatest. I don't know if he would be good at 170, he would be losing a lot of power. His endurance would be even worse. I have a hard time seeing him at 170. Plus he's always wearing these rash guards to practice and stuff. I think he's on a little something. A little supplement. (laughs) I'm not going to say it. I think he's on that because his temper is crazy, it's unbelievable how short-fused he was.
Not that I know of.
It seems like you have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. How is that for a UFC fighter? Tell us your feelings.
Ah, Twitter. It seems like too many people are putting down their every day things. 'I just got done taking a dump' stop putting that on Twitter. I don't mind it, it doesn't bother me other than that.
As far the political talk and now with the election coming, do you think you're 'that guy' now, possibly branded as the politically outspoken UFC fighter? What is that like?
Hmm, I don't know I've never thought about it. I'm mostly just speaking my mind. A lot of the MMA fans don't like it though. They want to keep MMA and politics separate, and I see what they are talking about now. I was watching the TV the other day and every single advertisement were political and most of them were extremely negative. I can see how they are sick of it.
After the Secret Service knocked on the door, did that make you hold your tongue a bit?
No. no. The only thing that made me hold my tongue and made me watch what I said was the administrative leave with the highschool. I didn't really even do anything wrong, they apologized and were cool about the whole thing, they just wanted to make sure I wasn't a threat. The problem came with the school that put me on administrative leave twice. And now, they are limiting me to one practice per week. That's volunteer only too. I can't be an assistant coach at the highschool anymore. So I'm pretty irritated about that. They put me on administrative leave, they reinstated me, then the next year they put me on administrative leave then reinstated me again. If you want to regulate me to where I can't coach, just fire me then, don't reinstate me. I don't know, I think a lot of it comes from the parents not liking my political views and I think they don't want me to influence their kids with my political views. Next year I'm moving to a different school district...
Stop me if I'm wrong but I don't think you would be spouting off your political views on the wrestling mats?
Yeah, exactly. It doesn't make sense to me. When I'm in the wrestling room that's the last thing I'm thinking about. Especially when you're trying to help these kids and trying to make them better. I don't know.
What do you find more gratifying, helping people as a doctor or being a wrestling coach?
They are both pretty darn gratifying I have to be honest but it's hard to compare. I like teaching the little kids and watch them learn the technique you're teaching them.
It seems like you're a busy guy, how do you balance your life?
Well, as a chiropractor I'm appointment only. So I only work in the office about four hours a week. I don't really have set hours, so I spend a lot of time with my family actually, it's not that bad.
So What does Jacob Volkmann, chiropractor, UFC fighter, coach, do for fun?
Hang out with the kids and the family. I have three kids. That's all I do. I try to get the wife out of the house sometime so she doesn't kill me.
So when it comes down to it, we can erase the political BS and boil it down to Jacob Volkmann: family man.
Family man. There we go.