I have Down syndrome, and I deserve a chance to compete!
My name is Garrett Holeve and I am a 24-year-old with Down syndrome who has been training as a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter for over four years in Florida. Since I became involved in MMA it has become a very important part of my life. I was recently denied the opportunity to compete as a MMA fighter. This is not the first time I have been denied. These denials undermine my progress in my sport and embarrass me. You can help me secure an opportunity to compete in the sport I love by signing my petition. As I try to take the next step in my MMA career, Disability Rights Florida, the state protection and advocacy system, is representing me in an effort to access true competition. I am qualified, able and ready to fight. My love for this sport led me to create Garrett’s Fight Foundation to help promote MMA within the special needs community, including disabled veterans. I am the spokesperson, instructor and director at Garrett’s Fight Foundation. My job provides me an income, career, and means to self-sufficiency. Under current law, Garrett’s Fight Foundation could sponsor bouts, but the Florida Legislature just changed the law. Going forward my non-profit foundation will not be allowed to sponsor amateur bouts. I am very worried about my income, my foundation and my future in my sport. I need your support. In August 2013, the Florida State Boxing Commission issued a cease and desist order against a promoter who had scheduled me to fight due to lack of sanctioning by one of Florida’s Amateur Sanctioning Organizations, the World Fighting Organization. I am fully prepared to progress in MMA and I deserve and need an equal opportunity. I am supported by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). The mission of the NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Together, we want to raise awareness about the discrimination I am facing and put an end to it as I strive for full-inclusion and full-participation in the sport of my choosing. Please sign my petition calling on the Florida State Boxing Commission and its Amateur Sanctioning Organizations to let me fight competitively.