Din Thomas to bring awareness to domestic violence in and outside of MMA with a 200-mile bike ride

din thomas
Credit: Safe Escape

Din Thomas was on the road this weekend, raising money for charity while cycling.

The MMA fighting legend, Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and championship trainer — along with his biking partner the performance coach Julie McMahon — started riding on Saturday, January 8 from Titusville, Fla. to Clearwater and picked the path back up again on Sunday. When they’re done, Thomas and McMahon will have each logged close to 200 miles and hopefully raised a bit of awareness about the plague of domestic abuse. As well as money for the survivor’s advocacy organization Operation Safe Escape.

Thomas, who credits McMahon for choosing the cause and organization for their personal charity ride this year, is passionate about supporting organizations like Operation Safe Escape which help empower victims of domestic abuse. Although one in four women and one in seven men suffer severe physical violence inflicted on them by an intimate partner, Thomas correctly points out that even other types of abuse inflict incalculable damage.

Din Thomas to ride close to 200 miles for domestic violence awareness

“Oftentimes people only think of domestic violence as physical, but there’s also emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse that happens,” Thomas says. “Sometimes people are in these relationships where they’re trapped and they feel like they can’t get out. My riding partner and performance coach Julie went through a divorce where she was in an abusive situation that wasn’t physical, but it was still an abusive situation. She found this organization that doesn’t just focus on physical abuse but also on helping people escape their abusive situations and to also feel empowered so that they don’t go back to their abusers after they manage to get out.”

Thomas is making riding to raise awareness of important issues a yearly tradition. In 2021 he rode to raise awareness about men’s mental health.

This year’s issue of domestic abuse hits home for Thomas in more than one way. Domestic abuse isn’t just an international scourge, but one that is all too endemic in this sport that we all love.

Awareness ride also to bring attention to domestic violence in MMA

“Domestic violence is a huge problem within our sport. We need to address it,” the elite coach insists. “We’ve seen this happen time and time again in MMA, whether it’s women going through it and not feeling secure enough to free themselves from abusive relationships, or not feeling like they have support from the community, it’s awful. Women in MMA are tough and they fight, but they can also find themselves in situations where, because they don’t feel like they have support from the community, they believe that they have to hide that they’re being abused. We need to show them support and show them that they don’t have to hide it.”

Additionally, Thomas wants to use his platform to let abusive men in the sport know that their behavior is inexcusable. “I want to let guys involved in MMA know that putting hands on women is not cool. It’s time to call them out for that as well. We need to support women and we need to call out abusive men in MMA.”

To support Thomas and McMahon’s fundraising efforts this year you can head over to the ride for awareness site HERE. To learn more about Operation Safe Escape head over to their site HERE.

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