The MMA world is a unique community. Despite being a sport where people are fighting each other one on one to advance their own positioning, acts of kindness aren’t rare.
Unfortunately, these athletes aren’t immune to everyday troubles either. As is the recent case with UFC flyweight Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee who found herself in the middle of a domestic abuse incident with her husband.
Earlier this month, although the incident was fresh, Lee got her sophomore UFC appearance booked as she’ll take on Jessica-Rose Clark at UFC on Fox 31 in Denver, Colorado on December 15.
Having had her own troubles with similar instances in the past, Clark reached out to see if she could help her next opponent in any way possible as she told MMAFighting.
“I don’t know her personally. We’ve always just interacted online. But I messaged her on Twitter straight away and said, ‘Hey man, I’ve got a spare room. I’ll pay for you and your daughter to come out to [Las] Vegas if you just need to get away.’ And I sent her my number.
She read [the message], but she never responded. That was cool. I honestly didn’t expect a response. I’ve been in similar situations. It was just strange how I tried to offer her a bit of sanctuary and then two weeks later we’re booked to fight and she’s the reason I’m making my next paycheck.”
Clark’s situation detailed that of her ex-boyfriend and MMA fighter, Julian Wallace, kicking her in the head, hitting her in the face, kneeing her in the ribs and throwing her on the ground and choking her during an argument. Wallace pled guilty in an Australian court to the charges in 2016.
A question from some has been on whether or not Lee is getting back to fighting too soon after such a traumatic situation. But as she recollected experiences of her own, Clark believes that it’s actually a really good move on the part of Lee and just another way that she can help.
“She’s a fighter, same as I am. That’s what she loves to do and that’s her happy place and that’s her sanctuary. I think it’s a lot more dangerous for her to be sitting on the sidelines, kind of sitting around thinking about it. At least right now she has something to work towards. She knows she has a paycheck coming to her. She has something to focus on instead of sitting at home just kind of processing everything that happened. I was very grateful that after I went through what I went through, I got to fight really quickly. It gave me something else to focus on, so I wasn’t just kind of wallowing in my situation if that makes sense.
I do think it’s smart of her to take the fight. And I don’t feel bad about it at all. I’m giving her an opportunity to do something she that loves after she’s had something so horrible happen to her.”
Having been around each other for a majority of their careers as rising contenders in their division, Clark and Lee both fought together in Invicta FC which is where a fight very well could have materialized.
Instead, it will go down on the big stage and at the UFC’s 25th-anniversary event. Clark shared her thoughts on finally getting the fight with Lee.
“I’ve been wanting to fight her for a long time, but when she first got mentioned as a legitimate opponent, I said to [my coach] John [Wood], ‘Honestly, this fight needs to happen when we’re both getting paid a lot more,’. It’s going to be a good fight, it’s definitely worth the money and it’s one that people want to see. And it’s one that’s going to be lost on a smaller show. “
‘Jessy Jess’ will be heading into her fourth UFC fight come fight night as well as her third this year.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/17/2018