Following his sensational performance at last night’s UFC 207 event in Las Vegas, new UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt made headlines at the post-fight press conference when he gave away his new UFC championship belt to a cancer survivor named Maddux Maple.
Prior to “No Love” inking a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he met a young fan named Maddux Maple from his hometown who was battling leukemia. Cody was very inspired by Maddux’s story and decided to make a pact with the young man which stipulated that Maddux would beat leukemia and Garbrandt would make it to the UFC.
Now, over five years after making the pact, Maddux is cancer free and Cody Garbradnt is the king of the UFC’s bantamweight division.
“No Love” spoke about the pact and Maddux’s importance at the UFC 207 post-fight press conference.
“It was a surreal moment”, stated Garbrandt. “It was something I’ll never forget. No matter what happens for the rest of my life, I’m very thankful for this kid. He came into my life in unfortunate circumstances. Most of you don’t know, but he was battling leukemia at the age of five years old.
“I wouldn’t be here without him. He gave my life redirection and purpose and in return I fought with purpose and lived every day with more purpose. This kid was going through the fight of his life and had a smile on his face. He never gave up — he didn’t have a choice to give up.
“The things that I was doing in my life, I was really [pissing] my life away. I could have gone down the wrong path, I kept going down the wrong path. But I believe everything happens for a reason. As crazy as this might sound, he was really a turning point in my life.
“The help that he helped me through my entire life with his battle, he doesn’t even understand how much he’s helped me, how much I push in practice when I get tired, when I feel like I can’t go another round.
“That fourth and fifth round…. I remember I had his dad send me a picture of him laying on the hospital bed with his port put in his chest in his early onset battle with leukemia. I just looked at it [and thought about] how far he’s come. What’s ten more minutes, you know? What’s ten more minutes to go out there and capture this for him.
“It wasn’t just about me. I met him and it became our dream and our night, and now it’s his night.”