“Watching Garrett’s special, I believe that everybody deserves a shot,” said 28-year-old Steffan. “A disability, in my mind, is only one if you let it be”.
After several knockbacks in attempting to set up the fight, during which they were repeatedly encouraged to give up trying, Holeve’s father approached King of the Casino promoted Mark Shopp, who employs an independent sanctioning body not affiliated with the Association of Boxing Commissions.
“There’s no outlet for these guys to do it,” said Holeve’s father. “They’re entitled to fulfill their dreams, too. If they were practicing judo, they could go to the Special Olympics to compete, but there’s no place for people with special needs to compete in MMA.”
â˜› Next: New Sport – Redneck MMA Fighting
The fight is now set for August 3rd in Florida and will be a first for the MMA world. For the first time, two fighters with cognitive disabilities as opposed to physical ones will face off against one another. Both have trained for years and have had exhibition style fights against regular competitors but as you’ll see in the (annoyingly sentimental and American) video below there’s something not right about someone with no disability beating up someone with Down’s syndrome, even if the latter did last all 3 rounds. Should we be the ones who decide who’s physically and mentally healthy enough to fight in a ring? Should we stop fights like this or let these people realise their dreams and inspire others? Holeve and Steffan may never get another opportunity to fight other people professionally, but for one night in August they will step in the ring, beat the shit out of each other, and thank each other for the bruises afterwards.