Man with cerebral palsy, cancer earns Jiu-Jitsu blue belt
MANILA, Philippines - Ian Matuszak, a 20-year-old native of Westbury, New York who is battling cerebral palsy and stage-three esophageal cancer, was able to successfully accomplish an unbelievable feat despite his illnesses.
In front of approximately 200 people at the Longo-Weidman MMA Gym in Garden City, New York, Matuszak received a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from his instructors Pete "Drago" Sell and Dave Patton.
February 28th, 2014 - October 3rd, 2015. I received my blue belt in Jiu Jitsu from Dave Patton, Pete Sell, Eric Mancini, Chris Weidman, Matt Serra and Master Renzo Gracie at my cancer fundraiser. I am overwhelmed with love. I have no words. @renzograciebjj @mattserrabjj @mattserraufc @chrisweidmanufc #TeamRenzoGracie #bjj #jiujitsu #MMA #ufc #dedication #bluebelt #dedication #disabled #davepatton #serrabjj
Sell is a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and black belt under Matt Serra, a one-time UFC welterweight titleholder and a third-degree black belt under Renzo Gracie of the famed Gracie Family.
Meanwhile, Patton is a multi-awarded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and has been teaching the martial art for over 8 years.
"He trained before the cancer diagnosis at least twice weekly. He's done two tournaments. One was for people with disabilities and the other was a regular tournament,” Patton said of Matuszak’s dedication in an interview with FOX News.
Matuszak’s awarding ceremony was attended by UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman as well as other top mixed martial arts competitors such as Eddie Gordon, Al Iaquinta and Aljamain Sterling.
Yesterday was one of the best things I've ever been a part of. I'm beyond proud of Ian and I'm so honored to be his friend. Thank you to Chris Weidman, Matt Serra, Pete Sell, and of course Renzo and their entire team. Special thanks to Ian's wonderful family for their hospitality and to Dave Patton for taking good care of us. I STAND/SIT WITH IAN!! #fucancer #NOEXCUSES #nevergiveup #disabledathlete #paralyzedfighter #jiujitsu #bjj #AdaptiveWarrior #AdaptiveWarriorFightClub #bjjlifestyle #warriorway #wheelchairlife #TeamDeuSFight #TeamROC #RoyMarshJiujitsu #RenzoKnows #mma #motivation #ufc
Weidman and his trainer Ray Longo are spearheading a campaign to raise money for Matsuzak's mounting medical bills at this GoFundMe page. – Rappler.com