Tonight, dozens of talented jiu-jitsu athletes will take the stage at Fight to Win Pro 55. Some will be be doing it for the spotlight, others for the cash, but others are competing for something more powerful.
Alvin Robinson, a UFC veteran and one of the competitors in the main event, is donating any money he earns from his match and ticket sales to his friend Audie, who is currently fighting a battle with leukemia. The two friends met each other through jiu-jitsu, and one day, Audie woke up feeling sick. “He thought he had caught the flu or something,” says Robinson. “But after three or four days, he went to the doctor because he was so sick and was diagnosed with cancer in his bone marrow. He was instantly in a fight for his life. He has been battling and fighting leukemia for a few years now.”
On top of his battle with cancer, Audie also has a teenage son who recently tore his ACL. Robinson is hoping whatever he can earn from his match will be of some kind of help to someone who truly deserves it. ”Audie is not only a long time training partner, but also a father, a husband, a veteran, a former police officer. A man who is a giver. He is a man who would work with troubled youth on his own time. He often invited me to share my knowledge of Gracie jiu-jitsu with at-risk youth that he was working with. Audie has always done so much for others and I want to do anything I can to give back to him.”
Many people would be (rightfully) impressed by this grappler’s act of generosity, but Robinson considers it a simple part of his duty as a human being. “I feel like this is what we are all called to do: To love. The Bible says that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jiu Jitsu has a way of bringing people together. I have met so many people that I now consider family through jiu jitsu. Audie is one of those.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to help Audie fight leukemia can donate to the GoFundMe that’s been set up for him.
Larry Sarjeant and James Short may be opponents (They’ll be competing in a black belt match earlier on the card), but they’re fighting for the same cause. The two are friends, and tragically, their mutual friend Louis Papedo passed away in June after a long battle with cancer, leaving behind his five-year-old daughter, Sera. “Lou was such a fighter that he fought for every extra day he could spend with Sera,” says Sarjeant. “He gained over 100lbs of fluid in his legs; the cancer spread to his organs and his brain and then to his bones. His spine, ankle, and collar bones snapped under the extra weight, still he kept fighting to get every day with Sera possible. It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to watch.”
Sarjeant and Short had cornered both of Papedo’s MMA fights, and when F2W 55 was announced, they knew they had to do something to help Sera. “James and I approached [F2W Pro owner] Seth Daniels about doing a fight where we would donate all of our fighter earnings to Lou’s daughter’s trust,” says Sarjeant, who worked with Papedo for fifteen years and whose daughters attended the same daycare as Sera. He’s asking anyone sympathetic to the cause to donate to Sera’s GoFundMe to make her life a bit easier as she grows up.
Everyone fights for something, and these competitors clearly have hearts that are as big as their will to win.
Watch Fight to Win Pro 55 when it streams live on FloGrappling starting tonight, November 17 at 6:00 pm Mountain time