Fighter donates entire PA Cage Fight 27 earnings to training partner battling Stage 4 Cancer
Melvis Figueroa walked into the PA Cage Fight 27 main event contest against with Jake Kozorosky knowing that was going to be in for a fight, but also keeping in mind that the 15-minutes he would spend inside the cage were not nearly as toll-taking as what one of his dear friends and training partners was going through on a daily basis.
That friend, Carlos Moran, is a 27-year old first year middle school science teacher, National champion Judoka, and a newly-wed, who is fighting the battle of his life after a diagnosis of stage 4 Cancer. Moran is a black belt at Camal Judo in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by Carlos’ wife Charissa, her husband is suffering from “Medullary Kidney Cancer, which is very rare form of kidney cancer (only 1% of patients diagnosed with cancer have this cancer).”
A case report states, “Renal medullary cancer is a rare malignancy almost exclusively seen in young patients of African ethnicity. These patients often present with the cardinal symptoms of hematuria, flank pain, and an abdominal mass, and this malignancy has been associated with patients carrying sickle cell trait.”
Figueroa did not get the win on Friday night, but the fight was never really about him. Multiple fundraisers to include the GoFundMe have been set up to help Moran, and Figueroa added one more act of kindness to help his ailing friend. He would donate his entire fight purse.
“I’ve only known Carlos a few months,” Figueroa said.
When asked what led him to decide to donate his earnings Figueroa said, “It was the right thing to do.”
PA Cage Fight promoter Paul Matreselva Jr., a Cancer survivor himself was absolutely floored by his fighter’s generosity.
“This really hits home to me as I am one month away from being considered cured of Leukemia,” he said.
“When I was diagnosed it was the most difficult time of my life, with two sons and a pregnant wife I was given two hours to leave indefinitely to a cancer center in Philadelphia. It left a huge financial burden in my life. I lost two businesses. What Melvis did will go a long way; there is so much uncertainty with any ailment especially cancer. It was hard to hold the tears back as I watched Melvis hand him the check as Carlos had the mask and gloves on, knowing 23 months ago that was me.”
Melvis tells MyMMANews that the total contribution came in at roughly $1,000 but wishes he could have done more.
“Thinking of Carlos during the fight motivated me even more but unfortunately on that night Jake was a better fighter than me. I do not like to make any excuses,” Figueroa said.
Matreselva of PA Cage Fight also stated, “Melvis approached me just after signing the fight and found out his training partner Carlos Moran was diagnosed with Kidney cancer. He informed me that he had decided he was going to be donating every cent from this fight to Carlos. He typically takes a quick vacation with his wife after fights, he told me ‘I work for a living, this extra money, nope it’s going directly to him, he needs it more than I do.’
“When I watched Melvis present both checks to Carlos, Carlos was absolutely shocked, he didn’t know the exact details, in fact I didn’t know Carlos was going to make it to the event until the night of pro weigh inns, that’s when the final two remaining tickets went to Melvis for Carlos. All of us at PA Cage Fight are grateful for people like Melvis, and we are glad it is being recognized. Our continued prayers to Carlos and his family.”
Figueroa is a BJJ black belt under Jamie Cruz who has been training alongside some of the biggest names in northern New Jersey for the better part of a decade. Figueroa is also a highly decorated Muay Thai competitor. He spent an extensive amount of time training under legendary Muay Thai fighter Kaensak Sor Ploenjit.
Andy Main, one of the owner’s at PURE Mixed Martial Arts in Rockaway said, “He’s (Figueroa) an instructor at my gym. His record doesn’t reflect his level. He’s had a surprisingly hard time getting fights.”
Main states that he was unaware of Figueroa’s intentions to donate his fight purse to Moran.
“I didn’t know about it until last night but apparently he had committed his fight purse and ticket commission to a friend who had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. That’s the kind of guy he is. I’ve always been able to count on him and I will always go out of my way to be there for him in any way I can. He embodies everything being a martial artist is about,” Main said.
We at MyMMANews would like to echo the statements of both Main and Matreselva. This is an incredibly honorable thing for Figueroa to do and exemplifies exactly what you would hope for in a fighter. We wish Carlos and his family the very best wishes and extend our thoughts and prayers.
Another way you can help:
There will be a Beefsteak dinner on Friday, March 24 to help raise funds for Carlos’ medical procedures. See flyer below for more information.