Brazil MMA Community Supports Cities Affected by Unprecedented Flooding

The MMA community is rallying in support of flood victims in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, with fighters using post-fight interviews and social media to call for donations, and food donated by fans at UFC 301 being redirected to one of the worst affected cities.

The MMA community? They’re rallying behind Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. A place that’s been hit hard, real hard.

Floods. Historic ones. They’ve been battering hundreds of cities in the state since late April. The death toll? It’s at 95 and counting. Hundreds more are still missing. Over 100,000 homes are damaged or gone, just like that. More than 200,000 folks with no roof over their heads. The damage? It’s nearing a billion dollars, according to the local government.

Rain, lots of it. From April 22 to May 6, it rained as much as it usually does in five months. This caused Guaiba lake to flood, affecting hundreds of cities, including the state capital, Porto Alegre. The Gigantinho gymnasium, remember that? The one that hosted a UFC event in 2015 with Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva? It’s surrounded by water now. Same goes for major soccer stadiums and hundreds of buildings and roads.

Fighters? They’re stepping up. Post-fight interviews at UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro became platforms for pleas to help the victims. Social media is buzzing with donation announcements. Coaches and fighters worldwide are hosting seminars for food and donations.

Fans donated tons of non-perishable food in exchange for tickets to the UFC 301 ceremonial weigh-ins on May 3. Originally, these items were meant for social institutions in Rio de Janeiro. But now? They’re going to Canoas, one of the hardest-hit cities.

Thiago Meller, a one-time Bellator veteran teaching martial arts near Porto Alegre, says he’s never seen anything like this in his nearly 30 years in the Brazilian Army. “It’s really, really sad,” he says. The scenes are shocking. It’s like a war zone. Volunteers are helping, but there aren’t enough boats and jet skis.

Meller’s family is safe, but his in-laws? They lost everything. Many martial arts gyms are opening their doors to house the homeless. “It’s heartbreaking,” Meller admits. “You see people losing everything.”

The water? It’s going to take days to lower back to its regular level. And the state? It will take months to rebuild.

Want to help? International donations can be made through Brazil Foundation, crowdfunding campaigns, or the state’s official website.


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