Red Deer showed love and support for local fighter Mike Davis when the chance came up for the MMA pro to audition for the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
In less than 24 hours, the community raised $2,500 through a GoFundMe account for Davis to be able to take part in auditions in Las Vegas. Auditions were to be held on April 25th, but were announced last week as being delayed until further notice.
Nonetheless, the outpouring of community support humbled Davis and he said he’s still ready to go as soon as word comes back for the new audition date.
“A bunch of my friends had texted me instantly when the announcement for auditions came out, saying, ‘You have to do this!’ With how the economy is, I didn’t think there was any realistic way I could try out,” Davis said.
“A friend told me about GoFundMe, and I thought about it for a few minutes and decided I would try. A lot of people were encouraging me to audition, so I gave in. I created my page, set my goal to $2,000 for the flight and hotel, but I ended up reaching my goal in less than six hours and hit $2,500 by the end of the day.”
Davis said the response from the community was immense and unexpected.
“It was overwhelming and nerve-wracking, but I could feel the love,” he said.
“People give you little notes and messages when they donate and it just shows so much support.”
He said a lot of the donors didn’t care if he even made the show or not, but that they simply wanted him to have the opportunity. The Ultimate Fighter is a reality series that pits fighters against each other, produced by Fox Sports 1 and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
It follows professional MMA fighters through a series of training and fights on the road to a contract with the UFC.
“A lot of people were telling me it’s not even about going to the auditions and making it onto the show – they just wanted me to try and put in an effort. They were sponsoring me to put in that effort, and that’s meaningful because they didn’t expect me to make it but they all have faith I could. They just wanted me to have the opportunity,” Davis said, adding how thankful he was for this demonstration.
“A lot of the donors were training partners or people who have seen me fight, and they have faith I could make it onto the show if I just got to the auditions and do what I do best. It’s overwhelming. I got so many people donating. I was only expecting a few people with like $5 or $10, but some of the donations were quite a bit bigger.”
He said it was surreal to reach his goal in six hours, let alone surpassing it by the end of the day.
“It’s hard to show your appreciation for something like that, but I tried my best to give everyone a thank you and to send them all messages back. It was crazy. I reached my goal and it felt awesome,” he said.
After all of the excitement, Davis was distraught to read the news less than two days later that the auditions were being delayed until further notice. According to an article by Demetrious Johnson, a news reporter with the UFC, the announcement came out on April 12th.
There is no current update as to when the auditions will be held although Davis said he had heard it would likely be close to July.
“It was really disappointing, because you get so excited and geared up for it. I was going to fight on Friday and fly out Sunday morning – I was pretty committed, and knew that was going to be hard on me. But, when you get that type of support, you’ve got to try,” he said.
He said he cancelled his flights and hotel and explained the situation to his donors. Davis says he will continue to look forward to the new audition date, and thanks to the support of the community, will be ready to leave as soon as necessary.