The UFC’s second “Fight for the Troops” show on Saturday meant a night away from the stresses of military service – stresses most will never understand. About 3,200 troops attended the show, which was set up in a temporary arena inside a hangar on an air strip – tanks and helicopters just a couple hundred feet away from the Octagon.
The troops posed for pictures with Chuck Liddell and Bruce Buffer and Dana White and the Octagon Girls and Stitch and every fighter walking past – and most stopped to shake hands, sign autographs and get a snapshot, win or lose. They ate burritos at a tailgate outside the hangar. They cheered and booed the same as they would if they were in any other arena.
But this was more than just another UFC event. While part of the purpose of putting on a show exclusively for enlisted military is to bring some entertainment to the men and women serving America, the UFC and Spike partnered once again with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to raise money for troops suffering from brain trauma, as well as their families.
Martin Edelman, a board member with the IFHF and one of its founding leaders, said more than $600,000 was raised during the Spike broadcast of of the show – from phone donations alone. And he praised the UFC for being involved. Both Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, majority owners of Zuffa, LLC, are on the IFHF’s Board of Trustees.
Edelman said the total raised from the UFC’s Fight for the Troops event in Fayetteville, N.C., in December 2008 was in excess of $4 million.
“Last (event’s) number was close to $5 million, and I must say that Dana, Lorenzo and Frank contributed a lot to that,” Edelman said. “They’ve been just absolutely spectacular.”
To learn more about the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund or make a donation, visit the organization online at fallenheroesfund.org.