LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Ahead of the biggest fight card in its history with UFC 300, the Las Vegas based promotion once again made sure to give back to its community.

“We have kids who come and train, give them the platform to display discipline, honor respect, and combat sports.”

Skipper Kelp is a former professional boxer and the owner of Fight Capital Gym in Las Vegas, whose goal is to not only train the next generation of great fighters, but help kids transform into great people.

“It really encourages you to do your best and it gives you a security blanket,” explained Kelp. “We got your back essentially and the Fight Capital Gym and the Fighting for the Future Foundation, we have these kids backs.”

But Kelp is not alone, during fight week of UFC 300, the UFC launched a multi-year partnership with the gym in association with the Metro Police Foundation, that will establish a youth mentoring initiative with select schools throughout the valley. The program will target high-risk youth, ages 12-17, providing equipment, coaches, and after-school tutoring for the athletes participating in the program.

“It’s everything because a lot of these kids come from broken homes,” said Kelp. When they get home from school there is no one to look up to, no mentors, and sometimes in school it gets really rough and when they come here, they get positive reinforcement from people who have been in their shoes, and they get good guidance and encouragement. The discipline we give them is something that transcends in other future lives. We encourage them to be good, decent human beings and we do that through examples.”

During the announcement, UFC President Dana White showed his support, taking time to meet some of the kids as well as take photos. Also on hand were some current UFC fighters; Gilbert Burns, Mackenzie Dern, and Vegas’ own Khalil Rountree Jr.

“Growing up here we didn’t really have much, we didn’t have a lot of universities and things like that to look forward to, so having something like this is awesome,” said Rountree Jr. “It changed my life. Had I not been able to come into a gym and been welcomed when I was younger, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”

“To see a guy who came from the same place, coming from the social projects with no opportunity and give words to inspire, I think it can change a lot of these guys perspective,” said Burns.

The reality is, not every kid who comes through the program will become a professional mixed-martial artist, but the goal that is achievable is creating a safe space helping kids with their physical fitness and mental health.

“They are people these kids can relate to; they have seen where they started in life and where they are now,” said Kelp. “It’s so amazing when they got to see these people come in and realize, you know what, if I stay consistent and do the right thing, I can have a great life and be a good person.”


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