It seems only yesterday that I was reading the remarkable story of a young gentleman called Garrett Holeve and his battle for acceptance and being allowed to compete in his choice of sport, Mixed Martial Arts. Garrett is an athlete in every sense of the word, devoted, competitive and driven. Garrett is an adaptive athlete with Down Syndrome.
Garrett's story not only is one of inspiration, but it's one of significant importance, as this was the young man who along with his Dad,( Mitch Holeve) refused to take no for an answer, and gained a massive following from elite Mixed Martial Artists and Garrett's Fight was born.
Garrett's Dad Mitch Holeve who is a former boxer, had been made aware of a free trial at a local mixed martial arts academy, and asked if his sons would like to give it a try, which they did, the following morning the only one raring to go was the young man we've all come to know as G-Money, it's safe to say Garrett took to training like a duck to water.
As Garrett developed as a martial artist, much like any other person, his desire to compete was established, only this seemed to be a door closed. Undeterred Garrett continued his fight for acceptance, gaining attention from high profile Mixed Martial Artists like Stephan Bonnar who became a supporter and friend to Garrett as well as many others like Tyron Woodley.
Garrett and professional Mixed Martial Artist and UFC Fighter Tyron Woodley
Fighting For Autism Head of Operations for the USA, Brian Higginbotham was made aware of Garretts Fight and sought on finding a solution that allowed Garrett and his opponent (Nebraska Special Olympics Hall of Fame athlete ) David "Priceless" Steffan to compete in Mixed Martial Arts, and getting the approval of the board of Spire Sanctioning Alliance and it's President, Jayson Cooper, who were amazingly understanding and approved the bout, which took place at Cage Championships 50, under promoter Patrick Smith.
Garrett wearing his Fighting For Autism belt, pictured with his fight team, dad Mitch Holeve and Fighting For Autism Head of USA operations Brian Higginbotham
Garrett won that bout by submission. Both athletes have so much to be proud about, turning critics into fans and more so encouraging the next generation of adaptive athletes to come forward and show the world what they can do.
(Photo courtesy of Sara Levin Photography)
Since then Garrett has gone from strength to strength, coaching youngsters with disabilities both in Martial Arts and also Crossfit of which Garrett is an avid competitor
A few months back, Garrett and his Dad flew into London, where I managed to meet up with them at Urban Kings Gym in Kings Cross, where Garrett was being filmed for an upcoming short documentary by the Adaptive Boxing Organisation headed by Colin Wood. Being filmed as carrying out some training with various instructors and students, which included Fighting For Autism Fighter Ambassador and professional Mixed Martial Artist Helen "Hellraiser" Harper.
Watching Garrett train under the watchful eye of his Dad, was an inspiring and emotional experience, and impressive as Garrett was not phased by the cameras and concentrated on the instructions being given by his Instructor.
Garrett at a Muay Thai one to one class at Urban Kings Gym in London
Garretts post training regime consisted of watching what he had just learned that had been recorded on a mobile phone, and going over it again, to fine tune his technique until it was perfect, it was absolutely amazing and humbling to watch.
Garrett pictured following his days training at Urban Kings Gym in London
Garrett G-Money Holeve is the real life story of the young man who refused to give up, he dares to be different and along with his dad Mitch, I feel truly honoured to call my friends, their journey and determination to get people to see things differently and chase their dreams I only hope I've done justice in this blog.
Fighting For Autism are so very proud of you Garrett, not just the athlete you have become, but also the fine gentleman you have grown to be, special thanks to Garrett and Mitch Holeve,Helen Harper, Urban Kings Gym, The Adaptive Boxing Organisation, Colin Wood for allowing us to be part of a wonderful day. And most importantly to any reader,be like the young man they call Garrett G-Money Holeve, you never know how good you will be unless you try.
Garrett can be followed on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/GarrettsFight
If you have an inspirational story please get in touch with Fighting For Autism's Paulieboy at firstname.lastname@example.org
#DareToBeDifferent #NeverGiveUp #AutismAwareness #GMoney #MMA