Cody and Maddux are friends for life

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fighting is real, but the hype around it only very rarely is. However, amidst the weeks of bickering between UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt has come a short video that is as real as it gets.

Lasting less than one round, it reveals the friendship between Garbrandt and a young man named Maddux Maple, back in their hometown of Uhrichsville, Ohio.

“It’s good to come back and be a positive role model in a town that really comes from nothing,” explains Garbrandt. The fighter is visiting his friend, with the news that they will walk to the Octagon together at UFC 207.

Maddux is nine years old and has been fighting leukemia since he was five. They have been friends since a week after Maddux was first hospitalized.

“When I left that first day, I thought about it from then out,” said Garbrandt of their first meeting. “This little kid’s going through this, and he has a smile on his face. It helped me put my life in perspective. … He didn’t choose to have leukemia, he didn’t choose to get up and have to fight for his life every day. He gives me motivation for every day of my training, and every day of my life.”

Maddux’s father Mic says at one point, Maddux had had enough.

“One night he looked at his mom and told her he was done,” said Mic. “He just wanted to give up – tired of taking the pills. We knew there was one person, if he could get his little heart turned around, and make this easier on us, it would be Cody.”

It was.

“I called him up, gave him a little video,” said Garbrandt. “Keep fighting, taking your medicine. I said, ‘You’re almost there, you worked so hard, you’ve been battling this for three years, you only have a short time left. Tell you what, you make a promise to me you’ll beat cancer, and I’ll make a promise to you that I’m going to make it to the UFC and I’m going to take you with me.'”

It worked.

“We really care for each other,” said Maddux. “He helped me beat cancer. When I was down, he made me feel up, and get up, and take my medicine. If he wasn’t around, I don’t know what I would do.”

Cody Garbrandt fights Dominick Cruz in the co-main event of UFC 207 on December 30, live on pay per view. If Garbrandt wins, Maddux gets the belt.