MMA fighter Emiliano Sordi won the PFL’s 2019 light heavyweight season and playoffs after defeating five opponents in one year. He earned a $1 million prize for achieving this goal but shied away from any big luxury purchases. Sordi (22-8) actually used all of his money to provide meals to Argentina's people impacted by COVID-19.
The fighter appeared on the Hablemos MMA podcast to discuss his donation. He explained that the residents of his hometown, Rio Cuarto, have "had it very bad." Sordi explained that the economy is terrible and that the situation is ugly. Argentina had one of the longest and strictest coronavirus lockdowns globally, which made a major impact on the economy. Sordi put together a plan with his friends' help and provided meals for thousands of people from March until August.
"During the quarantine, a few times we were allowed to leave during the week," Sordi told the podcast, per MMA Junkie. "I would go out and try to help people with my friends. We got special permits that the municipality gave us and we would go out twice or three times a week, sometimes one, and we would give out food.
"We started giving food to about 300 people and we got to a point where we gave food to 3,000. So economically, I didn’t enjoy any of [the $1 million prize]. I didn’t buy anything. I didn’t go on vacation. I mean, I was locked at home. But I used those resources to help people who were going through a rough time."
As he explained, Sordi and his friends would cook for hours at a time at the clubhouse in his neighborhood. They would then pack up the food and load it onto trucks. They would make deliveries to different sectors of town where people waited. He repeated the process until he had used up all of his available funds.
"It broke my soul watching children, like 5 or 10 years old, telling me that they hadn’t eaten in three days or that their mother would only drink tea so they could eat," Sordi continued to explain. "The truth is that it was a tough experience, but it would give us an even bigger desire to keep helping them."
Sordi pulled off the entire plan by only using his own money. He didn't ask for help from the state or any outside sources. The MMA fighter explained that he is glad he could help but also said that there are still many people in rough conditions.