By Combined Joint Task Force 82 Public AffairsJuly 26, 2007
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, July 26, 2007) - Four Ultimate Fighting Championship stars concluded a four-day visit to Soldiers here this week at Camp Vance.
Fighters Kenny Florian, Jorge Rivera, Heath Herring and "Octagon Girl" Amber Nichole Miller demonstrated their techniques for Soldiers.
"Getting to see our Soldiers' everyday jobs has been an eye-opening experience," said Mr. Herring, a UFC Fighter from Amarillo, Texas. "My fights have been man-to-man in a ring with a referee, but these guys are fighting enemies who don't think twice about taking the lives of innocent people. Hearing the stories our Soldiers tell really puts our fights into perspective."
The stars were welcomed by Soldiers stationed in Tagab, Ghazni, Whazi Kwah, and Camp Phoenix.
"Everywhere we went, we received a warm welcome from UFC fans," said Mr. Herring. "A lot of Soldiers take their fitness very seriously, and I think UFC has a basic appeal to all athletes. Even if someone isn't an especially aggressive person, they can appreciate the contest of strength aspect."
"At the smaller bases, you could tell that they don't get a lot of visitors; so you could definitely say I got some extra attention," said Ms. Miller. "It's great to know I can bring a little piece of what makes America home to these men and women serving overseas."
The UFC fans took time to demonstrate and practice their skills with Soldiers at every opportunity.
"I can only hope that what we teach these guys is something they can actually use," said Mr. Herring. "What we practice is sport-fighting, with relatively low stakes. A lot of the techniques we use are effective and could be useful with battlefield application."
While the guests garnered respect and admiration from Soldiers, the admiration went both ways.
"I'm a huge fan of our military heroes," said Mr. Florian. "These guys want our autographs, but I don't think they realize that they're heroes to us. They are out on the front lines fighting with little or no recognition, which to me is truly inspiring. These guys are the real warriors."