"If we can in some shape or form give back or help out in what little ways the UFC or I can, it is a pleasure." - Benson Henderson
The UFC is synonymous with fighting. And on Wednesday afternoon, the sport’s most successful promotion took on a different kind of battle.
With a collection of the superstars from their roster in tow, the UFC descended into downtown Las Vegas for an event dedicated to helping the needy children of the city. In conjunction with Zappos and as a part of their “Fight Week 2013” celebration, the UFC and their fighters brought 100 pairs of shoes to the children of Boys Town Nevada.
The UFC has worked closely with Boys Town Nevada for the past decade, providing assistance in various forms over the course of their relationship. The organization at Boys Town Nevada structures programs for at-risk youth and their families and provides compassionate instruction for families who are on the brink of personal crisis.
At the event on Wednesday, former light heavyweight champion and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin shared his thoughts on giving back to the children of the community and the promotion’s relationship with Boys Town Nevada.
“I actually got my first taste of working with the Boys Town of Nevada organization back in 2006. We were out at the four homes they have for the families. Working here today is really cool because Phil Davis, D.C. (Daniel Cormier) and I just saw some of these kids a month ago at the Boys Town houses. Now we get to see them here and it’s very cool. Rather than seeing them just once, you get to know their names and develop a little bit of a relationship with them.
In addition to Griffin, a handful of other UFC stars were also in attendance to assist in the project. Lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Urijah Faber were on site to assist the children of Boys Town Nevada and fellow UFC fighters Cormier, Davis, Luke Rockhold, Carlos Condit, and Joseph Benavidez helped with fitting each child with a new pair of Zappos shoes.
“It’s always nice,” Benson said about the experience. “I think the UFC does a really great job of being aware that there are bigger and more pressing issues in the world than just fighting. If we can in some shape or form give back or help out in what little ways the UFC or I can, it is a pleasure. It’s a pleasure to help out and give back. Talking to the kids was great and hopefully some of what we said can affect one kid and lead them to better choices in their life.
“We are down here helping out these kids and it’s awesome,” Condit added. “Some of these kids don’t have the basic necessities in their lives and that is something we sometimes take for granted. It’s really cool the UFC has partnered with Zappos and are helping them get something they need. It’s cool to be a part of it.
“One of my favorite parts of being in mixed martial arts, having my career, and doing what I’ve done is having the opportunity to talk to kids and be an inspiration and a role model.”
In addition to each child leaving with a new pair of shoes, the fighters on hand spent time in other areas of the event as well. Following each child getting a new pair of Zappos, the fighters on hand provided photo opportunities, autographs and Q & A sessions as the children of Boys Town Nevada interacted with a collection of the UFC’s top fighters.
“It means a lot,” Faber offered about working at the event. “I grew up without a lot of money and took advantage of programs like this growing up as a kid. To be able to give back and have such an influence on these kids is pretty awesome. You can see these kids are pretty excited about being here today. They are getting a new pair of shoes and getting to meet some of the fighters. Working with these kids has been awesome.”