The Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that helps injured armed forces veterans and service members, recently received a donation from another kind of fighter – the Ultimate kind.
Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters from American Top Team in Coconut Creek recently donated $200,000 to the project from money the team won fighting in a national reality television show, called “The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians.” The Blackzilians team train at the JACO Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton.
“Since the beginning, we’ve always tried to give back to the community, and after the fight was won, we just all decided on where the money would go,” said Richie Guerriero, general manager at the American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek. “Fighters [at this level] don’t necessarily look to fight for the money aspect of it; it’s what they love to do. This event showcased our guys’ talents and they just wanted to give the money to a great cause.”
According to Guerriero, it was a team-versus-team format for the eight team members who participated in the reality show. Twelve fights were based on a point system that earned the local athletes, which included fighters Nathan Coy, Hayder Hassan, Steve Carl, Steve Montgomery, Sabah Homasi, Marcelo Alfaya, Uros Jurisic, Michael Graves and alternate Cristiano Souza, the win.
“I have all the respect in the world for [both the Wounded Warrior Project and the UFC fighters]. As soon as we won, all of the coaches and fighters were on board, stepped up and rallied behind the cause,” Guerriero added. “Any time you can give back, it’s very powerful, and I’m just glad that we were in the position to help.”
The nonprofit assists injured veterans with a number of situations, including teaching them how to cope with stressful situations, daily life activities, and different areas of support.
“It is this type of generosity that enables the WWP to offer 20 programs to injured service members, caregivers and their families, and these programs are uniquely structured to engage warriors, nurture their minds and bodies, and encourage their economic empowerment,” said Paul Loisel, spokesperson for the WWP, in regards to the American Top Team’s recent donation. “More than 75,000 injured service members are served through WWP programs, which are offered free of charge to all who participate.”
Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel