All Isaac “The Shermanator” Marquez ever wanted was one shot in the cage. However, because the 32-year-old has Down syndrome, no commission would sanction an MMA fight. Enter 35-year-old UFC fighter Diego Sanchez.
Sanchez and Marquez squared off in the octagon on Dec. 1 thanks to Sanchez lining up the bout through the Jackson Wink MMA Academy, which pitted the two men against each other in an exhibition fight at the Jackson Wink “Fight Night 2” in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Marquez initially met Sanchez when he visited the academy to watch pros work out. After Sanchez invited Marquez to train with him, they became fast friends.
“Most Down syndrome adults don’t live past 45,” Sanchez told KRQE. ”Isaac is 32, and I just wanted to see this young man be healthy. Exercise and martial arts are one of the most healthy things you can do.”
When Sanchez heard that Marquez’s life long dream was to compete in MMA, the pro got to work behind-the-scenes with MMA academy, and made the fight a reality.
Sanchez took this battle as seriously as he does all his other fights, but Marquez, who dedicated the fight to his late mother, prevailed in the first-round by way of submission.
Here’s the finish of the fight:
As for the underlying message of the contest?
“I just wanted everyone to know that Isaac had a dream and he went after it, and he earned it, and he got it,” Sanchez said. “So anybody out there: If you have a dream, believe in yourself and go for it.”
Here’s the fight in full: