Too many times we hear about MMA fighters going to jail for drug charges, starring in porn flicks and beating women. That’s just horribly bad press for what is supposed to be a modern incarnation of the oldest and noblest of sports. It’s time for some good altruistic stories to hit the headlines, and this one is genuine heart warmer.
Recently, Chinese promotion RUFF decided to pay each of its champions 1 million RMB, which converts to around $163,000. That’s a pretty good amount to win for an MMA bout anywhere, but especially in China, where RUFF are the only state sanctioned MMA promotion. When Irshaad Sayed beat Chunbo Yuan back in February for the RUFF bantamweight strap, he also won the most money he had ever earned in his career. With that amount of money, I could pay my rent for a year then spend that whole year volunteering my services as a test subject for Oculus Rift and associated peripherals. I’d go between trade shows, developer studios and multiple virtual realities. Imagine playing Skyrim with a VR headset, standing on a circular treadmill which tricks you into thinking you’re walking around for real. I know what you’re thinking: that would be incredible.
However, Sayed is a much better man than I, and will not spend a whole year playing with groundbreaking virtual reality technology. Instead, he decided to donate 10% of his post-tax income to a charity looking to build a school outside Zhaotong, a rural area of China which is one of the poorest areas in China, and almost entirely reliant on agriculture. In a place where not only education but clean running water is a rarity, his $10,000 donation can really make a difference. You could forgive him for buying a new car and a house with the money but he instead gave away more money than I earned last year so that some of the poorest children in China could learn to write. Not only that, but he personally traveled to the area to check out how his money was being used. I’ll start a slow clap, hopefully you guys join in from wherever you are in the world. Irshaad Sayed is a good guy. Props to @JamesGoyder for the tip.