Current and former champions spend time with special-needs children.
During fight week for Bellator 138 in St. Louis, Missouri, three of Bellator’s stars took the time to visit Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in nearby Maryland Heights.
Liam McGeary, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, and Michael Chandler spent time with children in the hospital for Bellator MMA’s community day.
Dr. Nick Holekamp, chief medical officer, explained Ranken Jordan’s role in the community.
“We’re a pediatric bridge hospital. We help take care of medically complicated kids transitioning from hospital to home.”
A quick Wiki peek tells us that Ranken Jordan “is one of a handful of hospitals in the United States that provide rehabilitation and subacute medical treatment for children, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.”
Dr. Holekamp and his staff often host athlete visitations such as this one. “It makes a big difference for the kids,” Dr. Holekamp explains. “We like to get kids up and out of bed and interactive as much as possible.”
Previous visitors include players from NHL team the St. Louis Blues, former pro baseball player Kerry Robinson, and Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters.
“To have outsiders spend time with the kids, and share some of their stories and experiences, makes a big difference in their lives,” Dr. Holekamp said.
Liam McGeary is Bellator’s reigning light heavyweight champion, and will defend his belt in September at Bellator 141: Dynamite against UFC Hall of Famer and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. The champion was very happy for the opportunity to visit Ranken Jordan.
“It’s really nice to get asked to come out here, just to give back to the community, just to put a smile on everyone’s face, really,” McGeary said of the experience.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion who is coming off a win in heavyweight against UFC veteran Cheick Kongo. Lawal will be part of a one-night four-man light heavyweight tournament, also at Bellator 141: Dynamite. The three other participants are UFC veteran Phil Davis, former Bellator champion Emanuel Newton, and recent Bellator title challenger Linton Vassell.
During their visit, “King Mo” noted that the battle in life these kids faced is far more significant than the state-regulated battles of his chosen profession.
“People are out there fighting for other things than just fighting for money in the cage,” Lawal said. “It brings you back down to reality, you know?”
Michael Chandler is a former Bellator lightweight champion who got back on the winning track this past weekend, submitting Derek Campos at 2:17 of Round 1. Since the hospital visit occurred during the week of his fight, he would have been undergoing his weight cut to 155 pounds at the same time he was spending time with the children.
“No matter what we’re going through in the gym, through the weight cut, through these fights, there’s people out there with a lot bigger fights than us,” Chandler said. “It definitely brings you back down to earth.”
Here’s to more of people in the MMA community influencing lives in a positive way.
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