Garrett Holeve was born with Down Syndrome but that does not discourage him from chasing his dreams.
He trains mixed martial arts and yet because of his disability was never allowed to compete in a sanctioned fight…….until now.
Holeve has been granted a sanctioned fight in the state of Missiouri slated for November 7. His opponent…. a man with Cerebral Palsey, David Steffan.
Now this might sound like a cruel joke but it is not. Both are highly skilled and talented at what they do. They have each fought for their rights to compete and believe that no commission should be able to bar them from doing what they love due to a ‘disability’ they have no control over.
The 24-year old Holeve sued the Florida State Boxing Commission and other organizations that stepped in and stopped him from competing against Steffan last year.
I spoke with Holeve several years ago before the lawsuit and found that he has a true passion for the sport. Had this been just a fad it would have been over by now.
Holeve first burst on to the scene and gained real media notoriety years ago when UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar stood behind him and his cause. From there the entire movement snowballed and gained momentum.
He gained over 100,000 signatures on a petition from backers supporting his right to fight. The movement has been called Garrett’s Fight.
The National Down Syndrome Society stands behind Garrett stating ” “Many MMA trainees seek to fight in official bouts as a natural progression in the sport. Mr. Holeve is no different — he wants to progress in the sport and needs to take the next step, and he has tried to take the next step. But despite being qualified to fight an opponent of equal experience and ability, the Florida Boxing Commission, through amateur sanctioning organizations, has prevented Mr. Holeve from taking that next step.”
Now Holeve will get the fight he has been asking for. The bout is sponsored by Fighting for Autism, a charity helping promote autism awareness.