State stops controversial Florida fight


5', 140 lbs., and 23 years old, Garrett “G-Money” Holeve has been a dedicated student at ATT since 2010, with a positive demeanor - by all accounts a great man to have in the gym. Given the dozens of top pros that fight out of ATT, his two exhibition fights would not be remarkable, except that Holeve has Down syndrome.

Approximately one in 700 babies born in the US each year has Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosome abnormality in humans. Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate impairments in physical growth, and mild to moderate intellectual impairment.

Everyone who steps into the cage has to overcome a lot - fear and doubt, the rigors of training, and more. In Garret's case, a lot more.

"He didn't like being the kid with Down Syndrome, the kid people felt sorry for," says UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar in a March interview. "Through martial arts he found himself. He found a passion and a purpose in his life."

As Garrett says, "fighting changed me." Among the changes was Garrett accepting that he did in fact have Down Syndrome, something he resisted so much that as a child, he didn't want to be known as Garrett, "because Garrett has Down Syndrome."

Garrett now pays it forward, teaching a student in the gym who himself has Down Syndrome.

“Them look up to me as a hero, or as a super man,” said Garrett. “Because them need a super hero.”

We all need heros, and Garrett is one of them. He had planned his first non-exhibition bout, against David Steffin, 28, who has cerebral palsy.

However, it was shut down by the State of Florida, just minutes before the fight.

WINK News has the story.

The state stepped in and shut it down claiming it was unsanctioned. On of the fighter's fathers say it's discrimination.

That fight was set to take place at the Seminole Casino in Immokalee. It's something both of these men told me on Friday was a dream come true. Now they are fighting to find a way back into the ring.

It was a fight that was supposed to be a first of its kind. One both Holeve and Steffin had been dreaming of, but five minutes before the first punch, the state presented the promoter with a cease and desist letter.

"He cried. It genuinely upset him," says Mitch Holeve, Garrett's father. "He's worked eight weeks in a training camp, training four and a half hours a day for eight weeks getting mentally and physically prepared to do this."

The fight was supposed to happen because the match was being held on tribal land, but a letter from the DBPR says the scheduled bout between the two amateur fighters is unsanctioned and against Florida Law.

"He's upset because he knows he's being told he can't fight because he has down syndrome and that hurts his feelings and that angers him" says the elder Holeve.

A representative with the World Fighting Organization tells WINK News, "the safety of the fighters is our number one priority and he doesn't think the decision was made on the basis of discrimination, but solely on fighter safety."

Holeve says his son got medical clearance and show have been able to fight. "I think their decision was pretty arbitrary, discriminatory," says Holeve.

"We have two guys with disabilities and we don't want them to fight here. This is his life and they're stopping him. As his dad I am just going to make sure he can do it safely and his rights are infringed upon and I'm not stopping anywhere until that happens."                     

Holeve is talking to the Boxing Commission and he says he has also reached out to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Read entire article...


tags: Garrett Holeve   regulation   legislation   


Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

Blue Duck site profile image  

8/8/13 1:43 PM by Blue Duck

That espn video of Garrett was rife with allergens, dammit. "I took that punch as a man." You sure did, Garrett. Awesome.

soldave site profile image  

8/8/13 12:40 PM by soldave


armbarring site profile image  

8/8/13 10:25 AM by armbarring

Come to florida. You can change your sex to abuse women. BUGGGGSSS!

Internettufguy site profile image  

8/8/13 8:15 AM by Internettufguy

Both guys have been training for years, to include sparring. Perfectly healthy young guys get hurt in training, so I'm sure if these two were so fragile it would have been made evident by now. My memory could be off, but I believe I remember seeing that they would be wearing pads in this fight, so it is really more of a hard sparring session than anything.

chew22 site profile image  

8/8/13 1:04 AM by chew22

Dear precious baby Jesus on a pogo stick let them bang!!!!

UGPTT_Rear Naked Chode site profile image  

8/7/13 9:06 PM by UGPTT_Rear Naked Chode

How can they even stop it if it was on a reservation?

rbl site profile image  

8/7/13 8:50 PM by rbl

I would have thought the other way around, the guy with cerebral palsy will have a disadvantage. Not a level playing field either way.

2leftfeet site profile image  

8/7/13 4:25 PM by 2leftfeet

Not all physicians are aware of the special physical concerns of athletes with Down Syndrome. Not all physicians are knowlegable about the throws and holds invoving the neck used in MMA. I have no firsthand knowledge about whether this young man was medically cleared or, if so, the specialty of the doctor who saw him. I mean no disrespect to the ringside doctor if he was cleared, I'm just stating facts from firsthand knowledge about athletes with special needs. Google atlanto axial instability and Downs or Downs and judo and Special Olympics and I'm pretty sure you'll find confirmation of what I said earlier. For the record, I love mma and BJJ and admire special needs athletes, it's just that some sports are not safe for certain people.

Jesus KO'd stayrad site profile image  

8/7/13 4:09 AM by Jesus KO'd stayrad

Haha great.

WeidmansPHD_in_G0atslaying_fr0m_h0fstra_U site profile image  

8/7/13 3:59 AM by WeidmansPHD_in_G0atslaying_fr0m_h0fstra_U

They've never stopped one of Mayhem Miller's fights.. this is an outrage.