Working Class Fighter Gives Win Bonus To Opponent in Need

Working Class Fighter Gives Win Bonus To Opponent in Need

The UFC is currently valued at more than 4 billion dollars but many MMA fighters in other promotions are struggling as the rich get richer.

This is what makes the acts of John Castaneda so unique. Following August 11th KO win over Angel Cruz on Combate Americas in LA he made a unique choice.

Initially Castaneda stepped in as the original opponent fell out and Combate officials were caught in a desperate scramble to find a new opponent at bantamweight.

It was looking somewhat bleak until they reached out to Castaneda.

Castaneda had little reason to take the fight given that he was already secured a title shot at Combate for the bantamweight title.

By the way Castaneda trains in Minnesota under Greg Nelson where former UFCers Brock Lesnar and Sean Sherk Trained.

He took the fight in spite of putting his title shot at risk.

“I took the fight because I am training full-time, six days a week, regardless of whether I have a fight coming up or not,” Castaneda said to yahoo sports. “A couple of months prior, I was assuming I was on that card because I was asked to be on it initially. Then things fell through and I realized I wouldn’t be on the card. But I knew there were a lot of 135- and 145-pound fights on that card and something like this could happen. So it seemed right to take it.”

Any fighter on the card who wins by knockout or submission earns a finish bonus of $2,000 at Combate- It’s their way of encouraging action.

“I’m biased, but I think this is a better way because it encourages all of them to try to have the Fight of the Night,” he said.

After the fight, Castaneda approached the officials. He was prompted learning about his opponent’s family before the fight because Cruz thanked him for accepting the fight.

So Castaneda said the following: “Give Cruz my bonus.”

This remarkable act of kindness is that much more remarkable given that Castaneda isn’t rich and actually moonlights as a trainer to help supplement his income.

Castaneda was borderline embarrassed when prompted about it, he became emotional.

“It really choked me up,” he said. “I’d never encountered anything like that. MMA is a very charitable sport and you see fighters starting GoFund Me pages to help each other a lot. But this was a little different situation and it was so impressive. This came in the heat of the battle after a very tough fight.”

“After the weigh-in, he stopped me and thanked me for taking the fight, and he said if I hadn’t taken it, the fight probably wouldn’t have happened,” Castaneda said. “He told me without the fight, ‘I couldn’t feed my family.’ That really hit home to me. This is real. This is life. He’s doing this because he has to in order to support his family.

“I met his kids, two little girls, and they were so cute. This was an extra fight for me and I wasn’t expecting this money. And so when I got the finish, I told Campbell that I could do without it and to give it to [Cruz].”