An MMA fighter from Brazil showed the true heart of a champion after donating his entire purse to his opponent, who had to endure a long trip to compete last weekend.
Filipe Esteves, who won his seventh straight fight in Brazil MMA last Saturday night and captured the flyweight title, announced in the post-fight cage interview that he will be donating his paycheck to Rildeci Dias after he discovered that his opponent shouldered his own bus ticket to Salvador.
Dias left his home town of Belem last Wednesday and reached Salvador on Saturday morning after a 35-hour bus ride, where he also cut weight during the trip.
Dias knew that the Brazil MMA would not pay for his ticket but still insisted on fighting Esteves for the flyweight title.
Incredibly, Esteves, who is also in need of money to prepare for international tournaments, still made the move so Dias can travel back home.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) August 21, 2019
A Humble Man
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Esteves explained why he opted to donate his entire purse to the humble man, Dias.
“I saw his situation, such a humble man, leaving Belem to Salvador to make only R$ 500 (around 120 dollars), and that touched me.”
“He’s an experienced fighter who fought all around the world, has more than 30 fights, and his situation is just like many other athletes in Brazil, so I decided to make this move.”
Esteves, who has started a crowdfunding campaign for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, also dreams of landing a contract under the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the future of his daughter.
“I’m balancing two different lives.”
“It’s been a dream to fight at the Olympics, but also to be in the UFC. I have a 10-month-old daughter and I have to guarantee my future.”
“An Olympic sport doesn’t change anyone’s lives financially, so MMA is my biggest goal right now.”
A Great Heart
Dias, who is now 23-9 in his MMA career, shared that he cried a lot after Esteves made the gesture.
“I didn’t expect that.”
“I never expected I’d see an athlete do that, but Filipe has a great heart and is a humble person. He said he had made that decision even before the fight, win or lose, and I cried a lot.”
“He’ll be signed by the UFC really soon. He has a great heart.”
Meanwhile, Brazil MMA’s executive director Martinho Jambeiro said their sponsors do not cover fighters’ transportation, but they were treated to a nice hotel and a fancy restaurant.
“Our budget was very limited and we didn’t pay transportation to any fighter, but we put them in a nice hotel, which was one of our sponsors, and they went to one of the best restaurants in a fancy neighborhood.”
“We took care of them. He even won a Brazil MMA gi.”
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What do you think of Filipe Esteves’ kind act?
Let’s hope more fighters will be inspired by his story!
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Filipe Esteves and Ridelci Dias)