TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – A Marine and his opponent lock eyes, their faces showing no trace of anticipation. Slowly circling one another, they move close enough to tap hands. Then, with one swift motion and without hesitation, the Marine attacks.
Headquarters Marine Corps Single Marine Program and Marine Corps Community Services hosted an Ultimate Fighting Championship Clinic and Fight Night Viewing at the West Gym and Sunset Cinema, April 18, 2015.
“The Marines and sailors train every day,” said Michael Brown, manager SMP, Headquarters Marine Corps. “It’s important that they enjoy themselves during the time they get to relax.”
The event, which was open to all Combat Center Marines and sailors, began at the West Gym and ended at the Sunset Cinema. There were five UFC fighters who came as part of the event. Three of them, to include Uriah Hall, Diego Sanchez and Joe Lauzon, taught different mixed martial arts techniques. Following the demonstrations, there was a meet and greet where the service members were given the opportunity to ask the fighters questions.
“Being able to experience the clinic was great,” said Lance Cpl. Dantrell Hunter, food service specialist, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “I got an opportunity to interact with the UFC fighters and it was awesome being able to learn new things from experienced guys.”
Later in the evening, Marines and sailors were treated to a viewing of several UFC fights at the Sunset Cinema. In between each fight, there were prize giveaways, the fighters shared their opinion on the outcome of each fight and the Marines and sailors entered a drawing for an opportunity to win an Xbox-One. There was also a surprise visit from Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green.
Green was visiting the Combat Center alongside Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., to observe Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force and took the opportunity to stop by to acknowledge the Marines and sailors for their hard work and personally thank them for what they do to support the base.
“The [UFC fighters] really enjoy giving back to the Marines because they know they work hard with everything they do,” Brown said. “This is really a great opportunity for them to show their appreciation to the Marines and sailors at Twentynine Palms and across the Marine Corps.”
This is the first of six installations the UFC visited and the events conducted are greatly influenced by what the Marines request. SMP hosts approximately 22 different events throughout the Marine Corps each year and they hope to continue hosting various events in the future.
“We need to continue to bring this type of entertainment to our Marines and sailors,” Brown said. “They enjoyed themselves and that is really what it’s all about.”
Story by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo