While UFC fans may still be talking about Paige VanZant‘s beatdown of Felice Herrig this past Saturday night, it’s retired UFC veteran Nate Quarry’s April 18 exhibition match that is going viral on social media.
Quarry retired in 2010 from MMA, but when he heard that he was being challenged by a very special opponent, Nate knew he had no choice but to step back in the octagon. Oregon resident Jake “The Snake” Beckmann, 19, has been training in MMA for the past four years, waiting for the opportunity to show off his Quarry-like skills in competition. Beckmann knows how to grapple, perform leg locks, and hip tosses like any other MMA fighter, but what makes him unique is that Beckmann has Down Syndrome.
Greg Walker, Beckmann’s coach, admits he was nervous at the prospect of allowing Jake to actually fight, unsure as to how his disability would affect him. In the end, Walker became the driving force behind the campaign that would intrigue Nate Quarry enough to make his brief octagon return.
“Over the years he has worked his butt off. He is probably one of the hardest working students I’ve ever had,” Walker said of Beckmann. Walker felt that hard work should be rewarded and launched a Facebook campaign asking fellow Oregonian Nate Quarry for his help in boosting the young fighter. Quarry responded within days, accepting Beckmann’s challenge and the Rumble at the Roseland was born.
— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) April 17, 2015
As the two tussled Saturday night, Beckmann got the upper hand, eventually forcing Quarry to tap out in a second round submission. Quarry took the defeat in stride, knowing he had helped Beckmann achieve a dream as well as earn some cash for his charity, Create the Connection.
“If I can affect the entire community and let everyone know that special needs people are just a little different. They’re just that: they’re a little different. They have dreams. They have goals, just like the rest of us,” Quarry stated in a post-fight interview.
But perhaps it is Nate Quarry’s understanding of facing an insurmountable opponent that helped him sympathize with Beckmann’s quest for a championship. In December, Quarry joined fellow fighters Cung Le and John Fitch in a class action lawsuit against the UFC, claiming the MMA giant was monopolizing the market and impeding on fighters ability to earn an income as well as practicing unfair policies in regard to hiring and firing, among other things.
While Nate’s lawsuit has made him a pariah in some UFC circles and a hero in others, Rumble at the Roseland belt winner Jake “The Snake” Beckmann undoubtedly considers Nate Quarry not only a worthy opponent but a class act.
For more information on Jake Beckmann’s Create the Connection charity and how you can help Nate Quarry raise awareness and funds, click here.
To see Jake “The Snake” Beckmann submit Nate “The Rock” Quarry, click here.
[Image courtesy of Facebook]