UFC fighter Chris Camozzi is scheduled to fight in Abu Dhabi at UFC Fight Night 39 tomorrow, and he is planning on coming to the ring with Reddit sponsor tags on his clothing to help support a boy with brain cancer named Gabriel Santistevan. Reddit users reached out via a thread to find MMA fighters who would want to get sponsored by the Reddit MMA community (r/MMA). The plan was that Reddit users would all chip in via a Kickstarter-like campaign to get their logo on a fighter’s clothing, and in return, that fighter would sit down and do an AMA (ask me anything) session where Redittors and that fighter would interact. Camozzi stepped up to get involved, but instead of being personally compensated by the funds raised, he asked for the money to be donated instead to young Gabe.
Gabe is 9 years old and lives in Colorado. He loves Legos and is adept at naming the make and model of any vehicle he sees on the road. He also loves video games and playing outside, the latter of which he has not been able to do much lately due to being diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor. Gabe had surgery to remove the tumor and underwent chemotherapy last fall, and on February 14th, he had clear brain and spine MRI scans. Gabe is not out of the woods yet. He will continue receiving chemo treatments through May, is experiencing negative side effects from his surgeries and treatments, and still cannot walk.
When the thread was started on Reddit to sponsor a fighter, Camozzi was quick to offer himself up. Zuffa, the company that owns the UFC, agreed to let Reddit sponsor Camozzi to help raise funds that would go to the boy’s fight against brain cancer. Camozzi agreed to not only do another AMA, but vowed to try to get other fighters on the card to give a shout out to r/MMA on video.
Gabe is still fighting, but unfortunately news dropped today before the UFC Fight Night 39 weigh-ins that Camozzi’s fight was being scratched because his opponent, Andrew Craig, has come down with tonsillitis. What is worse is that Camozzi was planning to come out to the cage with Gabe’s name on his clothing in addition to the Reddit logo,which would have been a surprise for the 9-year-old who will be watching the event. Hopefully, the fight will be rescheduled quickly, as Camozzi, outside of promoting Gabe’s fundraising cause, is looking to get back in the win column after losing two tough fights back to back. The good news is that tonsillitis does not seem like an illness that should keep Craig inactive for long, so resetting the fight for a card in the near future may be possible.
In the meantime, Gabe’s treatment continues. He needs constant care, so his mother is unable to work and the medical bills are incredibly expensive and piling up. People interested in donating can find Gabe’s story at YouCaring.com. While Camozzi and Reddit are doing what they can, along with the UFC, everyone is welcome to help raise money for Gabe’s battle against brain cancer.
By Matt Stinson
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