World Class MMA Legend Fights For The Forgotten
Cris Cyborg is known by most for her dominance as a mixed martial artist. She is the only fighter in MMA history to hold titles in four major promotions, and is arguably one of the greatest female fighters of all time.
But in 2019, Cyborg made waves outside of the cage when she partnered with Fight for the Forgotten, a nonprofit started by fellow MMA fighter Justin Wren. The foundation supports a group of native Africans called the Pygmies, who are trapped in a cycle of oppression and forced labor in Uganda, Republic of the Congo, and several other Central African nations.
“Globally more than three million people die each year from water-related diseases, so when the opportunity to get involved became available I knew this was a cause God was putting in my heart,” Cyborg said in a statement.
Because the Pygmies own very little land and largely lack access to drinking water, they are taken advantage of and used as slaves or indentured servants throughout central Africa. Fight for the Forgotten works to provide the Pygmies with sustainable agriculture, clean drinking water, and land to live freely.
Cris Cyborg was so inspired by the Pygmy people and Fight for the Forgotten’s mission that she decided to join forces. She personally funded the installation of two drinking wells and even elected to travel to Uganda with Wren and other members of the nonprofit to see the project through in person.
“Our clean water is just part of an entire Water-Land-Food initiative going on to help empower the Batwa Pygmies currently enslaved, or living as refugees,” Cyborg said in a video on her Youtube channel. “I know usually I’m promoting fight related material, but this experience has reaffirmed to me the responsibilities we all have to help make this world more lovable and better for everyone.”
The YouTube video documented the project, and the MMA champion can be seen befriending children and taking part in the local tribe’s customs and rituals. She even helped dig and install the drinking wells, which were the first two wells on Batwa Pygmy land. The wells not only provide clean drinking water to the Pygmies but will be used to irrigate crops on the tribe’s new property.
“I think it’s very important to give back,” Cyborg told Sporting News. “I think when you’re blessed like I am, you have to share your blessings. When God blesses you, you cannot just not give back. You have to have those blessings to help people and give them hope. It motivates me … A lot of people watch my fights. I want to be a good example because if you set a good example, you touch a lot of kids and people’s hearts.