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  1. #1
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    River_Rat_459's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Stann's Memorial Day bout means much more

    This story is from, and although I had made mention of Brian Stann in the UFC thread under Sports, I wanted to post this story for everyone to read since this is probably the most heavily viewed thread in the entire forum. Besides, this story isn't just about the sport of MMA.

    This story covers his remarkable tours in Iraq and his desire to fight this particular weekend. The dude is just plain awesome.

    LAS VEGAS "I wouldn't want to fight me on Memorial Day weekend." Those words were spoken in a soft, soothing, matter-of-fact baritone voice by a man who could kill you with his thumbs.

    Brian Stann cut an impressive pose on stage at the MGM Grand Las Vegas for his news conference to promote his bout with Jorge Santiago on Saturday in UFC 130. His gray suit, open-collar silk shirt and tight haircut outshone UFC president Dana White, who wore faded jeans and a Hugo Boss golf shirt to the podium.

    Stann seemed out of place in other ways, as well. His professional demeanor and articulate, fully formed answers seemed foreign at a pre-fight Q&A in which "man" and "know-what-I'm-sayin'?" are the most commonly transcribed words. This guy could have been giving a State Department briefing and been just as impressive, especially when the topic turned to fighting on Memorial Day weekend.

    "It's important for me to fight on Memorial Day," said Stann, a military veteran. "I asked to fight on Memorial Day. I knew there would be an onslaught of media to do during that time, and I think it's important. It sheds more light on things that need to come to light, things like The Boot Campaign and things like my charity, Hire Heroes USA."
    Stann runs Hire Heroes USA, a non-profit that helps find civilian jobs for veterans, and he supports charities like The Boot Campaign, which raises funds by selling combat boots online.

    First and foremost, though, he is a serious middleweight fighter, a sculpted athlete who was the WEC light heavyweight champion before making the jump to the sport's top division. But he is much more. A former linebacker and special-teams player at the Naval Academy, he became Capt. Brian Stann USMC, a combat officer who served three tours in Iraq during the bloodiest days of the war.

    In May 2005, Stann led a company, call sign War Pig, part of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, through the village of al-Qaim in Anbar province during Operation Matador, the most intense house-to-house and village-to-village fighting U.S. armed forces had experienced since invading France in 1944. On Day 1 of the operation, Stann and his men were to sweep through a nest of insurgents on the west side of al-Qaim and take the Ramana Bridge, a critical resupply point on the Euphrates.

    About 700 yards from the bridge, they found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by elite foreign insurgents. Hammered by mortars, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, Stann called in air support. But before the Marines could regain control of the battlefield, one of the M1 tanks exploded from an improvised explosive device. With fire erupting all around and under a barrage of gunfire, Stann ran forward and helped pull his men from the wreckage. The men of War Pig also fought back the insurgents until a MedEvac helicopter could return and take the rest of the wounded.

    He won't talk about it. Forceful but polite, he says, "I'm not going to discuss any of the details of that day." And he hates being called a hero, even though he received the Silver Star, the third-highest combat citation awarded in the military. "Those of us who were there don't think like that," he says.

    But he still has the backs of his own kind. Wednesday, he stood in a hotel suite on the 21st floor of the MGM, lending support to Marcus Luttrell, former Navy SEAL and author of "Lone Survivor," the harrowing account of Operation Redwing in Afghanistan, where Luttrell was the only member of Seal Team 10 to make it out alive. His teammate Michael Murphy received the Medal of Honor posthumously and recently had a Navy ship named after him.

    "I wasn't able to be there for the christening," Luttrell said of the Murphy. "But that maiden trip, yes, sir, I'll bet there. Us SEAL guys, we don't like spending much time on ships, but I can tell you I can't wait to put my feet on that one."

    Luttrell has his own charity, The Lone Survivor Foundation, which is widely supported by the UFC. Stann wanted to lend support by being at Luttrell's event. "Marcus Luttrell is a great human being, and I'm honored to be in his company," he said.

    Stann's own role as "The All American," a nickname the UFC plays to the hilt, came a little more reluctantly.

    "For a while there I was resistant, but now I've had to learn to accept the role of representing those veterans and using the attention that I get for the UFC for the betterment of their services in America and for my charity," he said. "I think (fighting on Memorial Day weekend) is a big deal. For me, I'm usually angry on this weekend anyway and feel like fighting, so why not get paid for it? Plus, I got an amazing fight out of it."
    His opponent, Santiago, is 11-1 and was a champion in Japan before returning the UFC.
    "Jorge and I both know the implications of this fight," Stann said. "The winner of this fight is probably going to get into a No. 1 contender bout, possibly, and we'll see what happens from there.

    "This is huge. A win in this fight puts me right there with the top four or five guys in the division in the UFC and will end all the questions of my legitimacy. (Jorge) tries to say there is no pressure on him, but realistically, he's No. 6 in the world and I'm not even in the top 10. So there is no pressure on me. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this fight."

    Santiago seemed wounded by the fact that on Memorial Day, American fans likely will be pulling for Stann.

    "I love America, too," he said. "Brian is a hero, no doubt about it, but I live here and I love this country."

    No one questions Santiago's love for America. But in a race for fan support on a weekend when Americans remember those who have fallen on the field of battle, nobody will get a louder ovation than Brian Stann.
    "My goal in 2011 is to get into the top 10," Stann said. "I haven't gotten there in many rankings at all, and this is a fight I need to do that. Jorge is ranked as high as No. 6 in the world. A win over him cements me in that top 10, and gets me to where I need to be, confirms my training, confirms how good I think and believe that I am. I know I can win this fight."

    Indecision may or may not be my problem.

  2. #2
    USMG [Retired Staff] Member
    David_3033's Avatar
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    That Marine is badass! He is definitely one of my favorite fighters and I always like to see him walk away with a win.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." -General Mattis

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