Former UFC champ Jens Pulver falls to 9-year-old Omar Garcia
Nine-year-old MMA fan Omar Garcia has grown up wanting to be an MMA fighter just like his uncle, former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver. Garcia's already had a much tougher battle than anything he'd face inside the Octagon, however, after being born with a heart defect that's forced the little boy to undergo six surgeries.
The fight still isn't won, but Pulver along with a local MMA promotion in Oregon decided to do what they could to help Omar's dream come true and allow him to have his first "professional bout" on Saturday.
Pulver played a big part in getting his nephew the chance to step into the cage, and the organization behind it gave him the five-star treatment. Omar got his own walkout song, corner men and announcement as he entered the cage, then got a championship belt after a first-round "KO" of his uncle.
"He gets really, really scared and freaked out when he has to go back in (to the hospital) for that stuff and he's already way past his life expectancy and he's almost 10 years old so he's battled everyday. He wanted to be a fighter, so Uncle Jens got to come home and it was real cool," Pulver told FOX Sports on Monday.
"It was kind of his bucket list thing. He got to do the whole thing. They gave him a walkout and then they gave him the belt at the end, I just about lost it. I didn't know he was going to get a belt, so it was really cool to give him that opportunity."
Pulver said seeing that little boy raise his hands in the air with the gold belt wrapped around his waist brought tears to the former champ's eyes. It seemed like such a small thing for him to do, but for Omar, this was a championship moment and dream come true.
"He's all jumping up and down. Just to see him walk in there and he had his corners, I mean at the end of the day it's why I did it. It's the reason why I started MMA, to give back, and he's gone through so much and I'd love to do that for anybody," Pulver said.
"I fought so I could go around and talk to people and help them and if talking to me lifts their spirit is the least I can do, I'll do it. Next time he goes in that hospital, he's going to have that belt."