I have been doing Muay Thai, boxing, and MMA for a few years, working my way up the ladder toward a professional MMA career. But then something I never thought would happen stalled my progress — my son Donovan got sick.
Donovan was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a severe liver condition, at about three months old. Two months later, he started treatment and had his first surgery.
The doctors wanted to remove the bad parts of his liver to see if the healthy parts would grow and stop the disease, but that didn't work. We were told he would need an entirely new liver.
There were a few options, one was to add him to the donor list and wait for a liver that matched his to come along. But, there were risks, such as an undetermined wait time, possible organ rejection and even death.
The other option was to find what they call a living donor. What this means is, if he were to receive a liver, his entire organ would be removed. Then, it would be replaced by a portion of the donor's healthy liver.
I didn't even hesitate and was tested immediately to find out if I was a match - I was.
We had already spent months living at the hospital because he wasn't healthy enough to go home.
With my family and my teammates by my side, I went into surgery to save my son's life.
The surgery required me to donate one-third of my liver, which was placed in my son (after they removed his entire organ). This kind of surgery is rare, and we were the 300th surgery of its kind in California.
When I made the decision, the doctors warned me that I might never be cleared to fight again, but I knew that I didn't want my son to suffer while waiting for another donor when I could do it myself.
I had the surgery in November 2016, and slowly returned to the gym in February 2017. By March I was back in full training mode.
Now, just over six months later, my son and I are both doing great, and I proved those doctors wrong. I was cleared to fight and will be making my pro MMA debut on May 6 for King of the Cage/#KOTC.