APPALACHIA — A group of area Mixed Martial Arts fighters is hoping to fight back against cancer by raising money and awareness for research that could help lead to a cure.
Organizers of this Saturday night’s Caged Kombat 2 at the old Appalachia High School raise the funds by partnering with the American Cancer Society’s Southwest Virginia chapter.
Doors open for the event at 7 p.m. with fights beginning at 8 p.m.
“This is our eighth show, and on this card coming up we have 18 fights,” fight organizer and Team Iron Lock MMA owner and trainer Jason Coomer said.
The main event features a rematch between Bodie Price and Andrew Yeary, Coomer said.
Volunteers with the Cancer Society will be on hand to sell cancer awareness bracelets and provide a variety of educational materials on the range of services they offer.
Cancer Society Community Manager Lisa DeBusk said Saturday’s fight is the first time the Southwest Virginia chapter has participated in an event of this type.
“I was very excited when he called, and I don’t know much about the event, but it sounds wonderful,” DeBusk said. “I think someone within the group has been affected by cancer and they’re really awakened to the fact that cancer is there and what can we do about it. So we certainly do appreciate them stepping out and helping us with our lifesaving mission.”
It’s important to reach out to new groups, DeBusk said, not only to raise money, but to provide education as well.
“It is extremely important, and the American Cancer Society is here to help. Unfortunately though, so many folks don’t know what we do ... so having events like this in the community just to get a face with the name of the American Cancer Society is very important for us. So, this gives us a different platform than we’ve ever had before to share this information.”
Coomer said this particular cause hits close to home since the daughter of a trainer on his team was diagnosed with cancer. Coomer said he also lost an aunt to the disease.
Coomer said the theme of trying to benefit a different charity with each MMA event is something his organization has done since its first fight.
“Each time we try to add something that benefits somebody,” Coomer said. “The time before last we did a benefit for a man with lung disease, so it’s something we try to do every time. We just want to make our MMA more of a family-friendly event, we don’t have any of the ring card girls and we don’t serve alcohol.”
Coomer said the fighters themselves are also eager to participate, as evidenced by their wearing of ACS wrist bands during their fights Saturday.
“The fighters are always receptive. I haven’t run into a fighter yet that wasn’t willing to be involved in a part of it. All of them are really willing to be involved in any way that they can. They’re really a good bunch of guys.”
Admission for Saturday’s event is $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
Coomer said raffle tickets will be sold for $5 each for a chance to win a prop from the movie “Alexander.”
Proceeds from the raffle will also go to charity.
For more information on the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org or call (800) 227-2345.