Car trouble is one of the most inconvenient issues a person can have, but former high school wrestler Canaan Bower recalls how it led him to save two lives almost two years ago.
“I was driving up the street to work on my truck,” Bower explains. “I stopped at the gas station. My town is a small town, and there’s only two gas stations across the street from each other. There’s a Chucky’s gas station and a Circle K. I was at the Circle K, and I went inside, got my drink and my gas, and when I came outside, I hear screaming across the street. As I was walking to my truck, I looked over to see what was going on and I saw that there was a lady with a baby in her arms running away from this guy behind her.”
Springing into action, Bower got in his truck and drove across the street. Without taking a second to think about his next move Bower, sprinted into the gas station where the commotion had moved to.
“I wasn’t thinking about it much,” Bower said. “My body was getting in the truck and going over there whether my mind said to or not to. If I was thinking, I probably would have said maybe I should just call the cops, it’s none of my business, but my body just took my over there, and when I got there I knew someone needed help and that’s all I had on my mind.”
When Bower entered the store, he saw a bloody scene that most had already fled to avoid. The last thing Bower saw before entering was a man covered in blood while holding the door closed to keep the assailant inside the store. His instincts must have been pretty fairly accurate because he let Bower inside, and after assuring him he was okay through a language barrier, Bower entered.
The scene was bloody enough inside that Bower was convinced the assailant was carrying a knife. Already badass enough to intervene in a situation this far, Bower wasn’t about to flee now.
“The lady and her kids were hiding in the employee area behind the refrigerators and stuff,” Bower said. “They were trying to keep the door closed and he was kicking the door down and hitting it with his shoulders. It was about halfway open, but she kept fighting him. He was facing away from me, so I went up and grabbed him from behind and pulled him out into the store, put him on his back and that was it. We waited for the cops.”
The story spread like wildfire. By the time he knew that he was a local hero he was already a nationwide hero and on Dana White’s radar. It wasn’t long before Bower was every one of your favorite fighters’ favorite wrestler.
“Jorge Masvidal was one of the first ones to reach out,” Bower said. “Triple C, Ben Askren, Miesha Tate I actually met when I was in Vegas, Mark Coleman. It was a good amount of people.”
The admiration went one step further when Dana was finally able to get in contact with the hero of Las Cruces.
“He [Dana White] said, ‘Hey! Choose a fight and I’ll fly you out for it. I want to meet you,’” Bower recalls. “Some time passed and we finally said, ‘let’s go to this fight,’ and he flew out me, my mom and my dad. He got us a super nice hotel and drove us around in nice cars, everything all paid for.”
Bower got to enjoy the entirety of UFC 258 from Octagonside seats and got a post-fight meeting with the UFC President.
Bower was a pretty well-known guy around town. With a district championship and recognition as a state wrestling finalist under his belt, Bower wasn’t famous because of his wrestling, but because of what wrestling instilled in him.
He wouldn’t go on to wrestle in college and isn’t in the amateur MMA scene making a name for himself. Training is on the horizon, but even if he never goes on to entertain the masses in the cage, he took away more from wrestling than most ever will.
He used it to save a life. While nobody can ever financially pay him for such a heroic act at such a young age, he will be called a hero long after a hypothetical career may have carried his name.
“They needed help, no one was helping, and I could help, so I did what I had to do,” Bower said. “I knew she had a baby and little kids, so I figured if someone was going to get messed up, I’d rather it be me than them.”