The fight fans of the Czech Republic are in for a treat this weekend, as the UFC is bringing the Octagon to Prague for the first time on Saturday. 18,000 people will fill the seats of the sold-out O2 Arena and in those seats will be Tonda Racz and his family.
Tonda is a six-year old boy who is currently ill. At the age of four he attended his first MMA competition with his father and ever since Tonda has been a fan of combat sports.
On Thursday UFC light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir visited Tonda and his family at their home in Prague. At first Tonda was shy, but once Oezdemir made a comment about Tonda’s Spiderman outfit the webs began to fly.
Oezdemir gifted Tonda with a UFC gift package that included UFC apparel, a backpack, Oezdemir signed gloves and a UFC stuffed animal from former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The two posed for photos and Oezdemir wrapped the UFC championship belt around Tonda’s waist.
It was a moment that Oezdemir won’t soon forget.
“It’s tough to see situations where young people like this have to battle true adversity,” Oezdemir said. “You realize whatever you’re going through it’s like nothing that he’s gone through. It’s a reality check and it helps you realize that you’re blessed to do something you love.”
Tonda’s parents and brother also spent time with Oezdemir, taking pictures and conversing with the title contender. Oezdemir understands that his presence and time spent meeting the Racz family could have a bigger impact than he could imagine and that’s why he believes it’s important for individuals with a platform to give back to the community.
“This is something that is going to be a memory for him and for his family,” Oezdemir said. “We are lucky to have people supporting us throughout our process in life, but once you reach center stage it’s time to give back to others. I’m more than happy to be a part of this.”
Oezdemir also provided the Racz family with tickets to Saturday’s event, inviting them to be his guests to the fights. That means regardless of who steps into that Octagon at the O2 arena on fight night, the real winners are Tonda and his family.
Oezdemir’s next fight will be on UFC London on Saturday March 17th, 2019 against Dominick Reyes.
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews.