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Jiri Prochazka: Making a difference with newly launched BJP Foundation

Newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion hopes to use his platform to make a difference in a big way in the Czech Republic.
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On Sunday afternoon in Singapore, Jiri Prochazka's life changed forever when his reign as UFC light heavyweight champion began following a fifth-round submission of Glover Teixeira – a pivotal moment not only in his own career, but for an entire nation as well.

Upon the return to his native Czech Republic as the first of his countrymen to claim UFC gold, Prochazka was met with a homecoming fit for a king, and rightfully so. Not only has this ushering of a new era made the 29-year-old the pride of his nation, but it enhances the platform on which he plans to give back.

With his newly launched BJP Foundation, Prochazka and his team have used the notoriety built by the product of Hosteradice to give back in a handful of different ways.

"It was last year that we decided to build this foundation," Prochazka said. "My team, my colleagues, they help me with that because my role is that I'm a fighter and I'm here to give my name for these causes. That's how I want to use myself."

Attribute it to Prochazka's refined warrior spirit – something each and every waking moment revolves around – or maybe it's just his way of balancing the cosmic scales, but for the newly crowned champion, giving back creates a balance in his life that enhances all areas.

"This foundation keeps me balancing my fighting, aggressive life where I'm hurting people," he said. "Many times, a lot of companies or foundations use me, my name, to get somewhere and to help someone and to promote it with me. I like to do that, so that's why I decided to make my own foundation."

The BJP Foundation raises money for a variety of causes, but its primary focus is enhancing the lives of children and their families battling various illnesses.

The BJP Foundation's website lists some of its initiatives as "contributing to supporting the mental well-being of the families of sick children," and "improving the facilities of Czech hospitals," so that children and their families feel more comfortable and safe while receiving treatment.

Alongside the healthcare initiative, the BJP Foundation also works to provide comprehensive care in sport, explained by Prochazka to take form in strength and conditioning, athletic and performance psychology and the professionalization of mixed martial arts in the Czech Republic.

"It's not just to help somebody – it's about helping someone, of course – but not just someone in a hospital, or children, but also to help teach MMA fighters how to be better in their work. Young MMA talents and all these things around MMA like conditioning, psychology, healthcare, and all these things."

Prochazka added that "taking care of the soul is as important as taking care of the body," and hopes to promote that across his now-enhanced platform as his reign as champion begins.

"Everybody has their own fight. I'm fighting in a cage, somebody is fighting with another obstacle. I think it's up to us to help those around us."

This story first published at UFC.com.