Dustin Poirier could have been a statistic. Instead, he’s one of the top 155-pound fighters in the world, a family man with a bright future.
That would be enough for most. Forget the past, forget the hard times and move on. But Poirier can’t and won’t do that, and despite fielding endless questions about his controversial no contest with Eddie Alvarez last Saturday in Dallas, his main priority right now is giving back to his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. And to do that, he’s donating the proceeds from an ebay auction of his UFC 211 fight kit to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“I was looking for a charity that would benefit my community where I’m from,” he said. “I know this charity gives back directly to Lafayette, Louisiana and it’s helped out a lot. So I just wanted to be part of something where I can see where it’s going. Here, it’s in my community and it’s my people it’s feeding.”
Lafayette has never been far away from the heart of the 28-year-old, even though he spends all his training camps in Florida with American Top Team. The reason is simple.
“Lafayette, Louisiana has made me who I am,” he said. “Growing up in those rough neighborhoods and on the rough streets of the north side taught me how to work hard, and everything I am comes from my family and where I’m from.”
It wasn’t easy growing up there. Poirier admits that his mother had to take formula from the supermarket to feed him as a baby, and as he got older, he strayed and looked to be heading down the wrong path.
“I made a lot of wrong decisions when I was younger, I spent a lot of time in juvenile detention and bootcamps, and I remember going to listen to guest speakers talk, and I wasn’t one of the kids who listened,” he said.
Yet fighting intervened at the right time, and when it did, Poirier had a positive outlet and he saw a way forward. He never looked back.
“I didn’t know what I was going to be or what I was going to do,” he said. “But years after, when I started fighting and fell in love with fighting, I knew that this was it. I do believe one day I’ll be the world champion, but I’m also going to use this platform to help and reach people. Maybe I can be the voice and somebody will listen. I’ve got some big things planned.”
From here on out, Poirier plans on auctioning off each fight kit and donating the proceeds to local charities. At press time, the UFC 211 fight kit auction is closing in on $5,000, with a little over five days remaining to place a bid. It’s a promising start for a cause that Poirier, as a father, feels especially strong about.
“Especially in this day and age where there’s so much waste and so much spending on ridiculous things, it’s just crazy that people can be at risk, especially children,” he said. “Adults are one thing, but children who are affected because of their parents or the situation they’re put in, I can’t even wrap my mind around it.”
Poirier isn’t just talking about the issue, though. He’s doing something about it. And he’s not going to be one and done.
“I want to leave a legacy, not only in fighting by being known as one of the best fighters in the world when it’s all said and done, but as a good person trying to make things better and doing the right thing,” he said. “I want to be a light in the dark. That’s what I’m trying to do here, and this is just the beginning.”
Click here to bid on Dustin Poirier’s UFC 211 fight kit
Click here for more information on the Second Harvest Food Bank