In the spirit of the arts, Disciple MMA Academy and Beyond Strength Performance NOVA set out to give back on November 7th as they gathered a small group of people on short notice to participate in the annual Raider Project WOD. This annual event raises awareness and funds to “connect MARSOC and USMC combat veterans to help them transition smoothly, peacefully and successfully into the private sector”. The event was a success creating an amazing team building event for the gym, but more importantly everyone felt they were able to contribute their sweat and efforts to a cause greater than their own.
Later that day, Disciple MMA’s own Pablo Garcia was looking to extend his four year winning streak as he stepped into the cage at Odyssey Fights in Richmond, Va. At 21 years old, this was going to be Pablo’s second professional fight, but Pablo wasn’t going into the fight with a clear conscious. Pablo had heard of the fundraising event going on at the gym earlier in the day and requested from his coaches to allow him to participate. Let’s put this into perspective… Only hours before his fight Pablo wanted to participate in a partner event that included over 4000m of rowing, over 900m of 200 lbs sled drag, 70 pull ups, 70 push ups, 70 box jumps… ok, you get the point. Obviously this was not permitted from the coaches, but the young man with class beyond his years decided to forego sponsorship banners and do his part by carrying out the Raider Project banner.
Pablo’s opponent came into the fight with a great deal of confidence after his :29 victory during his professional debut at Shogun Fights two weeks prior. Pablo, fighting for a cause and with passion, refused to be outdone. The fight stopped shortly after it began as Pablo finished in an even more impressive :23 second submission victory as he locked in a deep guillotine on a failed shot by his opponent. Pablo proudly displaying the Raider Project banner and gave a passionate speech about the importance of the cause with a call to action for the rest of the people to dedicate themselves to helping veterans as well.
Just as the barbarism started at the gym in the morning, it ended that night as the team gathered in solidarity to celebrate the win. Not the win of just one, but the win for all. It starts with the art and ends with a family. Congratulations to Pablo, Disciple MMA, Beyond Strength Performance NOVA, but most importantly the Raider Project and the numerous veterans they help!
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