MMA Fighter Garrett Holeve Battles Inside and Outside the Cage

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MMA Fighter Garrett Holeve Battles Inside and Outside the Cage

In August 2013, the Florida State Boxing Commission issued a cease and desist order against a promoter who had scheduled Garrett “G-Money” Holeve to fight.

You see, Holeve, a then-23-year-old amateur mixed martial arts (MMA)  fighter, happens to have Down syndrome. It’s been difficult for him to find an opponent, or even a place to compete.

But that didn’t deter the Cooper City, Florida native from pushing to participate in the fight he said he deserved. With a steely, determined attitude, Holeve started a petition on, and with the help of Disability Rights Florida and advocates from the National Down Syndrome Society, they started a movement to turn his passion into a reality.


MMA Fighter Garrett Holeve

Although not in his state, the affable Holeve did get the opportunity to step into the cage. On November 8, 2014, he defeated David “Cerebral Assassin” Steffan, an adaptive athlete who has cerebral palsy, by submission in the second round of their sanctioned bout at Cage Championships 50 in Sullivan, Missouri.

It marked the first time in MMA history that two adaptive athletes faced off against each other. But he has fought able-bodied competitors, too, and performed fairly well.

Last week, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) recognized Garrett Holeve with the NDSS Self-Advocate of the Year Champion of Change Award.

NDSS self-advocates are volunteer supporters with Down syndrome who are committed to taking part in the democratic process and serve as liaisons between NDSS and their communities to continually raise awareness, educate and advocate for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the federal, local and community levels.

Holeve will receive his award at the Buddy Walk on Washington, D.C.—the annual NDSS advocacy two-day event, which will take place from April 14-15.

The 24-year-old combatant has two more goals to accomplish: fight in Florida, and establish a fitness facility where adaptive athletes can train and get physically fit alongside the able-bodied.

He has already provided fighting tutelage to another person with Down syndrome, and continues to work hard toward every aspiration he has his eyes on at the moment.

In celebration of Holeve’s award, please visit and make a donation so his dreams are able to reach fruition. Also visit for more information on Garrett Holeve.

About the author

Jerry Del Priore is a veteran freelance sports writer from Brooklyn, New York, who covers a variety of professional, college and high school sports for a number of print and digital publications. In addition, Del Priore is the author of Running Through Roadblocks: Inspirational Stories of Twenty Courageous Athletic Warriors, available on and

View all articles by Jerry Del Priore

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