Robbie Lawler, KJ Noons, Gina Carano, Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett, Edson Berto & Kala Kolohe Hose Participate In Giveaways In Their Hometowns On Tuesday EliteXC, sponsored a charity event Tuesday in which turkeys were distributed to needy and underprivileged people who'd otherwise go this week without a turkey dinner and all the trimmings.
Two days before Thanksgiving Day, six of the most popular stars in EliteXC donated their time and muscles as well as turkeys to charitable organizations in their respective hometowns. “This is our way of reaching out and helping people that may not be as fortunate or well off as some others,’’ EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw said. “If EliteXC and our fighters made the day better for one person, if we put a smile on one face, we will have done our job.
“I really want to thank the fighters. It says a lot about anybody who will take time out of their schedules to go and do some good for others in their community. I am really proud of all of them. We plan to do something like this every holiday season from now on.’’ In St. Louis, EliteXC/Icon middleweight champion Robbie Lawler helped deliver turkeys to the St. Louis Food Bank operated by the St. Louis Department of Human Services.
“I might be considered a champion for what I do in the ring, but these volunteers are the real champions,’’ said the popular, personable Lawler, referring to the staff. EliteXC’s newly crowned lightweight champion, KJ Noons, distributed turkeys and canned goods near San Diego to families victimized by the devastating recent fires in Southern California.
Noons spent part of Tuesday at The Fallbrook Food Pantry. The Food Pantry services the Fallbrook community, which consists of many senior citizens who lost their homes in the fires. Fallbrook has been feeding an average of 390 families a week.
Once word spread that Noons was handing out turkeys, families began going back to the shelter to return chicken patties and other pantry items in exchange for a turkey. Like Lawler, Noons was touched by the hard work and dedication of the employees. “I wish I had a world championship belt to give each of the workers who have been devoting countless hours for all these families day in an day out,” he said. “They are truly an inspiration.’’
While Fallbrook Food Pantry Executive Director Don Lualin was appreciative of EliteXC’s donation, he wanted to remind locals that “we don’t want people to become dependent on the Pantry for everyday meals, so we encourage them to use us for supplemental food and to build their own means for survival.”
In Ocala, Fla., Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett arrived at the Interfaith Food Bank warehouse facility early. “I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work,’’ the colorful, charismatic Bennett said. “I am proud to have the chance to give something back to the people in my community. This is my home and I want to work with EliteXC to do more things like this for every holiday.”
Bennett was joined by EliteXC’s Edson Berto. Berto lives in Orlando, Fla., but offered to reach out to the people in Ocala. The fighters worked as a team to unload the turkeys and help get the food bank ready for one of its busiest days of the year. “I am grateful to EliteXC and to the Fallbrook Food Bank for allowing me to make giving a part of my Thanksgiving holiday,” Berto said. “These folks deserve good things to happen to them.’’
The Golden Girl of MMA, Gina Carano, took turkeys to Safe Nest, a Las Vegas-based organization for women and children of domestic violence.
Established in 1977, Safe Nest is Clark County's largest and most comprehensive agency devoted solely to domestic violence issues. Services include shelters in confidential locations, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, victim advocacy, prevention and community education. For help and information, call the crisis hotline at (702) 646-4981.
Carano plans to spend more time in support of Safe Nest and other shelters that offer assistance to battered women and their children. “I am a tough fighter and I have a great team to support me in the ring, but I choose to pick my battles and step into the ring,’’ Carano said. “These women don’t choose their battles. I want to show women that we are all strong and there are shelters and support services to stand behind them.”
Hawaii favorite and No. 1 middleweight contender, Kala Kolohe Hose, brought turkeys to the Institute of Human Services in Honolulu. The shirt Hose wore -- “EliteXC Training Camp” – was fitting because he spent most of his time there unloading the large boxes of turkeys and food. Hawaii may be known as Paradise, but it isn’t for everyone and Hose understands that better than most. “Since I signed on with Icon Sport and EliteXC, I have realized how lucky I am,’’ he said. “I have become much more aware of those less fortunate. I am ready to reach out and help my fellow man.
"This might be my first visit to this organization, but it won’t be my last. This is the beginning of a new relationship for me. I am proud to give back to the people in my community. ” Inside a cage, mixed martial artists are known for being the meanest, roughest, baddest, toughest, most well-conditioned, determined and dedicated athletes in the world of sports.
Outside the cage, they are among the most compassionate, humble and caring people one ever would want to meet. Six EliteXC fighters in five cities in the United States proved that Tuesday. “During Christmas time, we will be giving our athletes’ time and gifts to children,’’ Shaw said. “One smile on one child’s face makes it all worth it. At EliteXC, it will always be about giving back to the community.’’