UFC Superstars Give Back To Yongsan Community on Thanksgiving

by Tim Oberle, Eighth Army Public Affairs
USAG Yongsan

YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- As a way to give back to American servicemembers for defending freedom around the world, professional mixed martial artists, octagon girls and senior executives from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stopped by the Honors Café Nov. 26 at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the local community.

Several of the fighters in attendance had connections to the military and made it a priority to come out and give back to the troops in the Yongsan community.

"As a former Marine I know how important family is and I have missed a few Thanksgivings," said Dom Waters, UFC welterweight and former motor chief in the U.S. Marines who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "If I can do even one small thing to help the morale of the troops I am all for that.

For another mixed martial artist in attendance, it was not his first time being at the installation.
"Being here is especially important because I was here when I was younger," said lightweight mixed martial artist Jon Tuck. "My father was stationed (at) Osan and him and my mother got married out here in Seoul and we stayed at the Dragon Hill Lodge when I was 12 years old."

"I never thought that I would be fighting in the UFC at that time so it is more meaningful for me to give back to the Soldiers here on Thanksgiving. They are the real heroes and warriors that are putting their lives on the line for our freedom."

In attendance to greet the UFC Superstars was Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the U.S. Forces Korea senior enlisted leader.

"It shows the level of appreciation that they have for us in the military," said Troxell when asked what it meant for the UFC to take time to serve the Yongsan community. "Especially Dom Waters, a guy who is cutting weight right now and has 15 pounds to lose before his fight on Saturday. That he would come out here with all that going on and then be around all of this turkey and pumpkin pie to say thanks to the troops is huge."

For Troxell, it made sense that the UFC and the military come together to celebrate Thanksgiving because the two organizations have a lot of similarities.

"UFC fighters and military members have a lot of similarities," he said. "We both live life by a warrior ethos, we both condition ourselves to be physically, mentally and emotionally tough, and we look to defeat our enemies when we are faced by them."

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