Irish MMA community unites for severely injured pro fighter Ryan Curtis


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The Irish mixed martial arts (MMA) community is rallying to show its support for pro flyweight MMA fighter Ryan Curtis, who has sustained severe injuries during training, including a broken back, broken neck, and a dislocated spine.

The incident has caused him to lose movement in both arms and legs, according to a statement in a GoFundMe account under his name. The MMA community is rallying support through the fundraising campaign to assist with the fighter’s medical and financial needs.

Curtis is currently in the hospital undergoing extensive medical treatment. According to his GoFundMe page, his journey to recovery involves at least five months in the hospital, followed by specialised spinal treatment.

Prior to his injury, Curtis was supposed to fight Davide Scarano for the Cage Conflict title on February 24. The match has been cancelled, bringing an end to Curtis’ professional career which started in 2005, finishing with a record of six wins and four losses.

The Irish MMA community has responded to the call for support for Curtis, with various notable figures stepping in to raise funds. Stars like Connor McGregor (former UFC champion), John Kavanagh (SBG Ireland head coach), Leah McCourt (top Bellator featherweight), and Mike Kogan (Bellator executive) have shown their solidarity by spreading awareness for the donations through social media.

The fundraising aims to achieve a £150,000 goal to cover the extensive medical expenses and ongoing care for Curtis. McGregor was among the first to express his support for Curtis, committing a £25,000 donation through the GoFundMe campaign. Kogan also contributed £1,500, while both Dillon Danis (Bellator executive) and boxer Michael Conlan made individual donations of £1,000 each. The fundraiser has reached approximately 90 percent of its target as of January 15.

A ‘strong mindset’

Emma Zacharopoulou, Curtis’ partner, expressed on social media her gratitude for the support shown by fellow fighters and the MMA community.

“The love and support for Ryan are truly a testament to his remarkable character. Ryan remains optimistic, I have never known anyone with a stronger mindset than him. I truly believe that Ryan will hug me and our beautiful daughter Kassia again. Please keep Ryan in your prayers,” she said.

Curtis is quite optimistic about his condition, as reported by Belfast fighter Leah McCourt, who is also the organiser for Curtis’ GoFundMe fundraising.

“Ryan has the most infectious positive outlook in life and has been through some of the most horrific circumstances, always coming out a better human, man and friend. He is still showing his positive outlook, his determination, and mindset to overcome yet another challenge that life has presented,” said McCourt.

Rhys McKee, a teammate of Curtis, described the incident as an unfortunate and tragic accident.

“Ryan can light up every room he walks into, he is one of those guys that you’d usually hear him before you see him, and I mean that in the very best way. He really is such a special guy, and such a massive character,” McKee told BBC Sport.

McKee said that the MMA community and the broader sports community are “absolutely gutted” by the unfortunate turn of events for the young athlete and father. He added that the way the community has come together to show support also reflects on Curtis’ character.

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