Professional MMA fighter from Northampton filmed for BBC documentary about the struggles of dyslexia

"I have never given up trying to read, trying to better myself. You can still make something of yourself and not let this thing hold you back."

Monday, 18th October 2021, 4:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:59 am
Jefferson George is a professional MMA fighter and has been filmed as part of a BBC documentary on dyslexia

A professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter from Northampton has been filmed to feature on a BBC documentary about living with dyslexia.

Jefferson George, from Boughton, was part of the filming for the documentary "Jay Blades: Learning To Read At 51".

Jay is known for his role on the hit show "The Repair Shop", and within the documentary confronts his struggles to read.

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The BBC also filmed Jefferson and provided him with 30-minute reading lessons twice a week with the aim to make him a confident reader. He also spoke to the BBC about how dyslexia affects his day-to-day life.

Jefferson said: "I've done the documentary because I've got children who are starting to read and I want to help them and read them stories.

"I also want to raise awareness for other people to show there are places you can go to for support and that you don't have to feel helpless.

"I have never given up trying to read, trying to better myself. You can still make something of yourself and not let this thing hold you back."

The 32-year-old said he was left 'frustrated' throughout school because his dyslexia went undiagnosed until his fourth year at college when he was around the age of 20.

"I always knew I struggled with reading but I never knew there was a name for it.

"It was just frustrating at school, really. I felt let down. People who were there to help me were not helping. I've kind of had to struggle all my life so far.

"Filling out applications, always having to depend on people doing things for me - that's frustrating," the fighter said:

Jefferson trains out of the BST Academy in Sixfields and has 10 professional wins from 17 MMA fights. He is also a full-time warehouse worker.

When asked about how hard it is to learn to read while juggling a full-time job, MMA training and looking after his children, Jefferson compared it to boxing.

He said: "It's hard but you can't think about how hard it is. It's like fighting, for me. I'm throwing punches and kicks right now, but if I drop my hands I'm going to get knocked out. You have to keep your hands up and keep going."

Now the father-of-two wants to inspire and encourage others to "keep going".

Jefferson said: "I came to England at the age of 10 from Dominica, started karate with my uncle and was a black belt by 19.

"So even if the reading holds me back in some aspects, I can still do things. It does not define you.

"Just keep going. Just know that it's not the end of the world. Yes, you can't do some things but there is so much more you can do. You just have to keep powering through."

A BBC spokeswoman said the documentary is still in the editing process and a release date is yet to be confirmed.

According to government figures, 6.3 million people (around 10 per cent of the UK population) have dyslexia.

For more information on how to help someone with dyslexia, click here.

Jefferson also runs a successful home-cooked Dominican food company called Colihaut Caribbean Cuisine, which can be viewed here.