Joe Lauzon’s biggest victory didn’t require gloves. He didn’t even throw a punch.
The UFC staple wasn’t near an Octagon, encircled by thousands of fans who’ve followed his 10-year mixed martial arts career. If anything, MMA was the last thing on his mind.
This fight was between Lauzon’s family and the cancer threatening his infant son’s life.
Joey Lauzon was born Jan. 12 and immediately found himself in Boston’s Children’s Hospital with neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that sprouts into a tumor. Lauzon and his fiancée Katie Silva endured three chemotherapy treatment in a four-month span.
They hoped for the best but prepared for an uphill battle. After all, doctors cautioned that they should expect surgery, radiation treatments, and eight rounds of chemotherapy.
On July 3, the couple’s fears were put to rest; Joey was declared cancer free.
“We go NED, which is no evidence of disease, so they got all the cancer, which is awesome, and he’s doing great now,” Lauzon told Fox Sports.
Joey isn’t completely out of the woods yet. He must wear hearing aids due to mild hearing loss and is at risk of childhood leukemia and certain forms of heart disease. Still things could be much worse for the six-month-old.
With Silva at Joey’s side, and nurses making frequent house calls, the Massachusetts native could redirect his attention to MMA. “People ask me all the time, ‘Why do you still fight?’…I really enjoy going to the gym, I really enjoy training, I really enjoy getting better.” Lauzon said. “It’s almost like I’m a real-life video game character where I’m constantly leveling up my boxing, and leveling up my strength and speed and all this other stuff, and I really enjoy that.”
Friday’s UFC Fight Night 50 marks the lightweight’s first bout since defeating Mac Danzig last December. It was Lauzon’s first unanimous decision victory of his career and third straight fight to go a full three rounds.
With 12 post-fight bonuses, Lauzon is tied for the highest total in UFC history. UFC President Dana White incentivizes fighters for their performances, awarding bonuses for knockouts, submissions, and fight of the night honors. Lauzon’s benefited to the tune of somewhere around $585,000 above his regular fight purse, which is between $12,000 and $25,000 at minimum.
A similar performance against The Ultimate Fighter 15 winner Michael Chiesa would go a long way in recouping Joey’s medical expenses.
Chiesa is 4-1 since defeating Al Iaquinta for the UFC contract in June 2012. He’s earned consecutive victories over Colton Smith and Francisco Trinaldo, respectively, but lacks the big-name upset that would catapult him into prominence.
Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Lauzon has reason to leave Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort with a smile. His son is healthy, he’s back in an MMA ring, and he’s got a long career ahead.
On Sept. 21, Lauzon and Silva join the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund walk to raise money for cancer research and patient care at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They’re about 70 percent to their $50,000 goal with about two weeks left.
Even if the mark isn’t reached, Lauzon has done more than enough for community that saved his son.
To donate to the Lauzon family visit Lauzon’s Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk donation page.