For years, fans have heard about fighters that have had family members dealing with serious illness or even the fighters struggling themselves with cancer and other illness. Unless you have dealt with similar circumstances, it is difficult to imagine the the emotional and financial toll it can take. One dedicated MMA community member has joined up with UFC 162’s Chris Weidman and others to try doing something about it herself by forming Live to Fight.
Long Island-native Kristen Brown is currently laying the ground work for Live to Fight, an organization that will provide help for those in the fight community struggling with both the costs and the emotional from illness. A two-time cancer survivor herself, she has experienced the hardships first hand but it was seeing her friend Reggie and her instructor’s son battle cancer that really motivated her to do something to help those in need.
So what is Live to Fight? Live to Fight is an organization that will seek to raise funds by holding various MMA functions over the year to aid members of the MMA community in need. The main fundraisers will be holding seminars headlined by some of the best trainers in the game today but they will also feature an MMA fashion show and their own version of the “Make a Wish” program. The seminars will be open to all levels of practitioners, with the first one taking place September 29 at Renzo Gracie’s BJJ academy in New York. The seminars will not just be in New York however, as Live to Fight is looking at various cities in the eastern US (for now) to host the seminars.
Interestingly enough, it was while planning for the upcoming seminars that the organization gained one its biggest supporters in UFC 162 main event fighter Chris Weidman. Brown originally approached Weidman while looking for instructors for her seminars, but ended up with a lot more than that. “I asked Chris about doing a seminar and he was just wanted to be more and more involved,” said Brown, “so he is now on our board of directors!” The importance of Weidman’s involvement cannot be overstated, as he not only brings visibility to the cause – Live to Fight will be on his banner this Saturday – but is legitimately glad to help.
Weidman is not the only high profile person involved with organization however, as Brown has amassed a solid group of board members that are known for their involvement in the NY MMA scene. Weidman, practitioner Ottavia Bourdain, and Bellator MMA’s Jeff Nader will serve as the organization’s executive directors. With such a group in place, Brown is also hoping to put a positive face to MMA in New York. With so much negativity often being brought up regarding the sport, especially in New York, good publicity can only help.
In the end, Live to Fight is a a noble effort to help fighter’s and their families get through hard times. MMA has seen plenty of fighters and their families struggle with medical issues. From Bryan Baker and Sherman Pendergarst to Dan Miller and Rad Martinez, fighters struggle with these issues just like the rest of us but rarely have the help to fall back on. Brown has made this a personal battle for her, and is simply trying to make sure no one else is lost with out help. Live to Fight’s slogan is “Some live to fight. Others fight to live.” and it is fitting slogan for an organization to looking to provide a fighting chance to those ailing in the MMA community.