UFC superstar Conor McGregor recently shocked two of his biggest fans by donating €10,000 (£8,600) to help them pursue their dream.
Ballycanew twins Adam and Dylan Duffy recently secured spots on Ireland’s International Youth MMA squad and set out to raise €6,000 (£5,200) so they can travel to Abu Dhabi to compete in the International Federation of Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF) Youth World. Championships.
The IMMAF World Youth Championships sees the best 12-17 year old MMA fighters from around the world compete under a modified set of rules that prohibits blows to the head.
It is considered by many to be the perfect way for youngsters to practice their MMA skills in a competitive setting without taking unnecessary damage.
British UFC star Muhammad Mokaev is perhaps the most famous fighter to emerge from the IMMAF.
The 21-year-old is a two-time IMMAF World Champion and took everyone by storm during his perfect 23-0 amateur career before moving into the professional ranks and making a name for himself.
The thirteen-year-old was shocked to learn that they would have the chance to replicate Mokaev in Abu Dhabi in August thanks to the generosity of their favorite fighter.
“I was in training when I found out and my coach told me so calmly about it. I was going crazy! I thought he was joking until he showed me the comments. I feel like I have to win now because he donated all that money,” Adam told the Independent.ie
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Dylan was just as excited as his brother but also added that he felt relieved as if McGregor hadn’t stepped up they may have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
“We might not have been able to do without his help. There are so many gyms there and he donated to us which is crazy,” he said.
Although they have exceeded their €6,000 (£5,200) target, Adam and Dylan plan to continue fundraising.
Together with their parents, Jason and Liz, they plan to use the extra money to buy equipment for their trainer Richie Ivory’s gym and for other Irish fighters to fund their trip to the IMMAF World Championships.
While the former two-weight champion is known for his brash bravado, extravagant shopping and portfolio of pubs, this act of charity is not unusual.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he personally delivered some of the personal protective equipment (PPE) his €1.3m (£1.16m) donation had paid for to doctors in Irish hospitals.
McGregor also managed to save Straight Blast Gym Portarlington in County Laois after the branch was thrown into financial uncertainty due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 33-year-old even donated $500,000 (£430,000) to a children’s charity in Dustin Poirier’s hometown of Louisiana, even though they fell out after their second fight at UFC 257 .
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