We all have a dream, something that we want more than anything in the world. Something we chase until we fulfill our own pursuit of happiness. Garrett Holeve and David Steffan both share a dream of becoming mixed martial artists. However, these are no ordinary young men, both fighters are considered by the medical community to be disabled. Holeve has Down syndrome, while Steffan has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy. Yet, disabled or not, for both of these motivated athletes, the show must go on! And on August third, 2013, these men are scheduled for a 140 pound amateur contest at the Seminole Immokalee Casino, in Immokalee, Florida. This is possible due to “King of the Casino” promoter Mark Shopp, who employs an independent sanctioning body that is not affiliated with the Association of Boxing Commissions.
Garrett Holeve has served as an inspiration to his gym everyday he trains, proving that anybody can achieve something they set out to do. He learns, spars, and even teaches his fellow teammates. Holeve has competed in an exhibition match, where he proved he has the ability to intelligently defend himself, perform takedowns, and launch his own offensive arsenal. To me, this more than qualifies him to compete in a special rules, amateur bout against an opponent with similar disabilities.
“Let Me Anthem” is a song written by none other than Special Olympian, David Steffan himself, where he declares his ability to conquer his disability and triumph over whatever it is he chooses to master. He states “Let me have a chance” in regards to anything he decides to tackle. To me, the cognitive ability to write and perform a song like this, and compete in athletic events, proves that David Steffan should at the very least be given a chance to attempt one of his dreams, competing in a fight.
Cleared by doctors, these two men are more than ready for their bout on the third of August. In my opinion, these events should be allowed to happen. They are not exactly stepping into an octagon with Jose Aldo, and as long as the people in charge put them in there with fair competition, they should be allowed to compete as much as any other human being. Nobody but the athletes themselves can know for sure what is absolutely best for them. Let them fight!