Dubai: MMA fighters are widely regarded as some of the baddest men on the plant. However, most of them, like Conor McGregor and Jon Jones, have developed a persona that they’re bad in an effort to keep the sport’s extreme image alive and relevant.
But like the proverbial two sides to every coin, the sport is also replete with Mr. Nice Guys. Meet case in point Dustin Poirier, who is the recipient of the UFC Forrest Griffin Community Award, which recognises fighters for their exceptional volunteer and charitable work and the meaningful impact their efforts have had on society.
Announced earlier this year, the award will be presented annually as part of the UFC Honors President’s Choice category, as the recipient is personally selected by UFC President Dana White.
UFC Honors is the annual awards programme to honour UFC athletes, performances and moments throughout each year.
As the inaugural recipient of the Community Award, Poirier, who will honoured later this year during the UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, will receive a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice.
Poirier received news of his award in the lead up to his unanimous points-decision victory over New Zealander Dan Hooker at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
“Dustin is a great athlete, but more importantly he’s a great human being,” President White told the UFC website. “He is a kid who works hard and is passionate about giving back to not only his community, but to those who are less fortunate.”
Speaking about the honour Poirier said: “I’m just grateful for the things we have accomplished with the foundation, the way it’s growing and the support and people getting behind it.
“It’s amazing that when you do something from the heart, something that means something to you and you do it the right way, all the right things fall into place.”
In April 2018, Poirier and his wife, Jolie, established The Good Fight Foundation, a charity committed to helping people in need and helping change though positive community initiatives.
Throughout the first two years of the foundation’s existence, Dustin and Jolie have introduced a series of programmes for those in need throughout their hometown of Lafayette and neighbouring Acadiana, Louisiana.
These initiatives include annual Thanksgiving food drives, back to school campaigns, and fund-raisers to help hundreds of women experiencing homelessness, as well as furniture for local shelters.
Poirier has also regularly auctioned off his fight-worn UFC fight kits to raise donations for families of fallen law enforcement officers, and to build a local playground for Aaron Hill and his friends, a terminally ill seven-year-old.
Following their fight in September 2019 against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov and Poirier raffled their fight-worn UFC Legacy Series Walkout Jerseys, raising more than $100,000 with the UFC matching the amount directly to the foundation.
Poirier and his foundation have also teamed-up with former UFC heavyweight Justin Wren’s ‘Fight For The Forgotten’ organisation to help combat the water crisis in Uganda.
Currently ranked No. 3 in the lightweight division, Poirier is a veteran of 33 fights and has compiled an MMA record of 26-6, 1C (18-5-0 UFC) while competing in the featherweight and lightweight divisions since his debut in 2009.
Among the fighters he has defeated are featherweight champion Max Holloway (2), former lightweight champions Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis, as well as Hooker (UFC rank 5), most recently at the Apex Arena on Saturday.