Local mom and MMA fighter use platform to talk about mental health awareness

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When a local mom was given a national platform, she didn’t just see it as her moment in the spotlight. She saw it as her chance to shine a light on a topic important to so many people across the country.

When it’s not school and homework, the time together between 12-year-old Cayden Beaukeman and Clarksville mom Jenny includes comic book stores and video game stores. The usual. What may not be business as usual is how people know Cayden’s mother.

She is MMA fighter Jenny Savage.

“I’m the only female bare-knuckle boxer born and raised in Tennessee,” smiles Savage. “Makes an interesting career day.”

“That’s pretty cool, I like that,” Cayden added.

The name “Savage”, where does it come from?

“From Macho Man Randy Savage!” said Savage. “Randy Savage looked like a champ no matter what.”

It’s something Savage strives to pass on to Cayden.

“We come here to train,” Cayden said, speaking just before boxing practice with his mother. “Actually, I like it.”

Those are fond memories with his mother, just like Cayden made so many fond memories with his father, Richard Beukeman.

“We had this place at my grandmother’s house, there was a shed,” Cayden recalled. “We were hanging out there and calling it the dude cave. We had a connection, a bond.

Cayden told us those early months of the pandemic were really tough for his dad, when downtowns were quiet and people were isolated in their homes.

“He was depressed,” Cayden said. “He’s a social person. In 2020 he committed suicide. I don’t wish anyone to lose someone so important to him.

“This pandemic is much more intense than just a virus,” Savage said.

For her son, and in memory of her son’s father, Savage decided she had to do something. She uses interviews she gets from her platform as a fighter to talk about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

“It should be talked about a lot more,” she said. “I believe that fighting is a metaphor for life. Nothing hits us harder than life. It’s about getting up and moving on. We’ve all, at some point in our lives, felt like we wanted to give up.

“Yeah, I’m really impressed with my mom,” Cayden said.

“We don’t give up here,” Savage said. “We’re giving it our all. That’s what it means to be a fighter, to keep going.