INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic keeps up a hectic schedule, and he likes it that way.
The best heavyweight mixed martial artist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Miocic spends his days serving as a part-time firefighter/paramedic in two Cleveland suburbs, Oakwood Village and Valley View, when he is not training for an upcoming bout.
And Miocic has put his notoriety from the UFC to good use in order to help his brother firefighters by donating $8 from the sale of each of his “Stand For The Fallen” t-shirts to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation over the holiday season.
“I’ve always wanted to help with some sort of firefighting, and my manager had a great idea to call the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and it all worked out well,” Miocic said. “I got to go to two fire stations in New York. Great guys, great companies. Then, we just went from there. Here we are now, eight years I’ve been on, eight years I gave back, so I was happy I could help out.”
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Shortly after the t-shirt was released for sale, Miocic took a trip to New York City to do promotional appearances ahead of UFC 205, the lead MMA organization’s debut show at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.
And during that trip, Miocic got to bond with members of multiple companies within the Fire Department of New York (FDNY).
“It was busy,” Miocic said of the New York experience. “It was busy. It was definitely humbling because those guys, they put in work. Those guys put in a lot of work. Me, I’m a suburb guy. I put in work, but nowhere near what those guys do. Those guys do so many calls and put up with so much, especially with those small streets and traffic. I give those guys credit.
“I look at them, and I’m like, ‘You guys do the real work. I’m just a little boy compared to you guys.’ Those guys are monsters.”
Miocic walked away from the New York City experience impressed. And spending the time with New York City’s bravest gave Miocic an even greater appreciation for the bond he has with his coworkers in the Cleveland suburbs.
“There’s no question, we’ve got each other’s backs,” Miocic said. “It’s loyalty, and no matter what happens in a situation, we’ve all got each other’s backs.
“That’s why it’s not just one guy doing it, it’s a bunch of guys doing it, and we all have a plan. If somebody falters, we have another guy to pick him up or a bunch of guys to pick him up. That’s the best thing about being a firefighter, just the brotherhood. It’s a huge brotherhood, and I love it.”