photos:: MMAnytt, Duda Santana

UFC fighter Duda Santana starving – Relying on donations for food

"...Everybody in Brazil thinks like, ‘boom, your problems are over’ if you’re signed by the UFC.”

Scandalously, a UFC fighter had no means to feed her starving family until other colleagues stepped in to help. 

Many think that making it to the UFC will automatically ensure financial security. While most fighters make more once they’ve gotten to the UFC, the increased travel for fighters and their teams can rack up expenses substantially. Training camps, dietitians, specialised trainers, and physical therapists also end up taking their financial toll. Especially now during the Covid-19 outbreak, hygiene products and other supplies are extremely important.

Brazilian bantamweight Duda “Cowboyzinha” Santana made her UFC debut last year in  Sweden. She faced hometown fighter Bea Malecki at UFC Fight Night Stockholm, losing via second round submission. She hasn’t competed since then, but not on her own volition. Santana has has three fights cancelled due to injury, and doesn’t get compensated for those missed bouts.

Recently Santana’s friend and  fellow UFC fighter Alan Patrick revealed terrible news. Santana had no money for food for her and her family. She shares a home with her young daughter, mother, and siblings. Patrick took it upon himself to start a donation program, where other UFC fighters such as Glover Teixeira and Amanda Ribas chipped in.

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“I helped ‘Cowboyzinha’ because I’ve been in her situation before,” Patrick said in an interview with Combate, translated by MMA Fighting. “I know how it feels to be hungry, to share a house with several siblings and not have anything to eat. We know ‘Cowboyzinha’ and her family are victims of the system. The system doesn’t let you acquire knowledge and grow as a person.

“Thank God and thank to sports she was able to achieve something and get to the world’s biggest promotion, but everybody in Brazil thinks like, ‘boom, your problems are over’ if you’re signed by the UFC.”

Patrick was surprised at the UFC’s lack of action, saying it was “embarrassing” for the promotion.

“It’s embarrassing not for me, but for the organization in Brazil,” he said. “They could have thought, ‘no, let me do this.’ I started the campaign and talked to other UFC fighters. ‘Are we going to see this story and not do nothing while our friend starves?’ Doing for someone what others have done for me in the past is priceless.”

Santana had a UFC bout cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and was relying on the money to support her family. While admitting that she’s afraid of Covid-19, Santana admits that she needs an opportunity to fight.

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