It’s always nice to see former UFC middleweight Nate Quarry in the cage, especially for a good cause. Quarry retired from fighting in 2010, but he accepted a challenge to help a young man with Down syndrome achieve the dream of competing in MMA. Having spent four years on the mat, 19-year-old Jake ‘The Snake’ Beckmann had been pressing his coach Greg Walker to allow him to fight. “As he would train with me he would ask me all the time, he would say, ‘Hey, when can I compete?’ or ‘When can I fight?’ said Walker. “And so over the years I would tell him ‘Keep training, we’ll get there.’ Over the years he has worked his butt off. He is probably one of the hardest working students I’ve ever had.”
Walker wasn’t sure where to turn, so he made a Facebook post asking if anyone in the Oregon MMA community would help. According to Walker, Quarry replied just two days later. The pair were then booked in an exhibition match for Apr. 18 at the ‘Rumble at the Roseland’ in Portland, Oregon. Clearly a fan Rousimar Palhares, Beckmann dropped down for a leg lock after hitting a takedown, tapping Quarry in the second round. “Throughout my life, over and over again, I’ve been given an opportunity to live my dreams,” Quarry said after the match. “If I can make the slightest effort to help a young man, not only live his dream but also show his mother, what it could be like to see him follow in his dreams.”
Beckmann was crowned ‘world heavyweight champion,’ adorned with a replica UFC title belt purchased with the help of a Go Fund Me page. “If I can affect the entire community and let everyone know that special needs people are just a little different. They’re just that: they’re a little different. They have dreams. They have goals, just like the rest of us. Why should we try to tell them how they should live their lives? If we can break them out of the box I think that’s the right thing to do.” The match also raised $1,000 for Create the Connection, an organization working to create meaningful employment opportunities for people in need.
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