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Maggie Hendricks

Fighters do more than punch people in the face

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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The Giving Back Fund just released a list of the most charitable celebrities, based on the amount of money they had donated in the past year. The list is dotted with athletes, including Michael Jordan, Richard Jefferson, Eric Lindros and Tiger Woods, who each gave away more than a million dollars. No fighters are listed, but that doesn't mean that they aren't doing their best to make the world a better place.

UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre started the GSP Foundation to benefit at-risk youth. GSP also met with a young man who was in a wheelchair before beating Matt Serra at UFC 83:

“I want to use my name, my credibility, and my stature as a professional athlete in mixed martial arts to help the young kids. I’m going to focus on the kids and the teenagers because growing up I had problems, and if I can help somebody who was like me when I was young, it will make their lives better.

GSP's opponent on several occasions, Matt Hughes, has also shown his commitment to charity. He helped wire and pour the foundation for Christian orphanages in Mexico.

Many fighters feel a special kinship with the armed forces, and have visited the troops at different spots around the world. WEC champion Urijah Faber visited Afghanistan earlier this year. Kenny Florian went to Iraq last July. Rich Franklin, still sporting a black eye from UFC 88, went on a military tour with Tim Sylvia. The UFC has followed their fighters' leads and scheduled an event to benefit the troops at Fort Bragg.

It's easy to get down on the fighters -- heck, I do it all the time -- but it's good to remind ourselves from time to time that these men and women are more than just striking, grappling, submitting machines.

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