UFC parent company Endeavor is concerned that an expected $150 million dividend payment will not be forthcoming from the world's dominant fight league. Meanwhile, UFC women's bantamweight Duda Santana and her family were going hungry, until some fellow fighters stepped up to help.
"Cowboyzinha" lost her UFC debut in June of 2019, and has seen multiple fights fall through since, most recently due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. She lives in Rio's infamous City of God favela, sharing a home with her mother, her four-year-old daughter, and six siblings. With shelter in place orders issued, there was no means for the family to make money, and thus no food for groceries.
UFC lightweight Alan Patrick heard about her dire circumstances and reached out to 80 fellow fighters on a WhatsApp group. Patrick tells Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting that Glover Teixeira was the first to donate, and has been joined by others including Amanda Ribas, Anderson dos Santos, and Raphael Pessoa.
“I helped ‘Cowboyzinha’ because I’ve been in her situation before,” said Patrick. “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.”
“It’s embarrassing. Not for me, but for the [UFC] organization in Brazil. 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 gratefully accepted the donations, and bought groceries for her entire family.
“We’re broke like everyone else,” said Santana. “It’s complicated. I depend on the fight and the win, and I was counting on the money [from a fight vs. Sarah Alpar in early May made impossible by travel restrictions from Brazil including the closure of the US Embassy visa section]. We work hard and train hard every day to fight, so it’s a bit frustrating. That’s the word, we get frustrated.”
“I want to fight, but I think it will take a bit [until I get offered a fight],” said Santana. [Coronavirus] worries me. I’ll tell you this, I’m scared of this virus. I just heard that a friend of a friend, someone we know, just died. He was 28 and very healthy. That scares you. But I want to fight. Tell Dana White to give me an opportunity so I can put on a show [laughs].”