Captain Brian Stann, USMC. Recipient of a Silver Star. While any UFC fighter gets charged up about getting into the cage, Stann has even more motivation to fight on this particular weekend. It's Memorial Day Weekend in the United States, and the veteran of three Iraq tours believes that fighting on the UFC 130 card in Las Vegas tomorrow is something he's particularly glad to be a part of, according to his interview with Fox Sports South:
"It's important for me to fight on Memorial Day," Stann said. "I asked to fight on Memorial Day. I knew there would be an onslaught of media to do during that time, and I think it's important. It sheds more light on things that need to come to light, things like The Boot Campaign and things like my charity, Hire Heroes USA."
The article describes one of his most trying military experiences:
In May 2005, Stann led a company, call sign War Pig, part of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, through the village of al Qaim in Anbar Province during Operation Matador, the most intense house-to-house and village-to-village fighting U.S. armed forces had experienced since invading France in 1944. On Day 1 of the operation, Stann and his men were to sweep through a nest of insurgents on the west side of al Qaim and take the Ramana Bridge, a critical resupply point on the Euphrates.
About 700 yards from the bridge, they found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by elite foreign insurgents. Hammered by mortars, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, Stann called in air support. But before the Marines could regain control of the battlefield, one of the M1 tanks exploded from an IED. With fire erupting all around and under a barrage of gunfire, Stann ran forward and helped pull his men from the wreckage. The men of War Pig also fought back the insurgents until a MEDEVAC helicopter could return and take the rest of the wounded.
He won't talk about it. Forceful but polite, he says, "I'm not going to discuss any of the details of that day." And he hates being called a hero even though he received the Silver Star, the third highest combat citation awarded in the military. "Those of us who were there don't think like that," he says.
Stann has used his notoriety from the UFC to help out charities and non-profit organizations, which is discussed at length in the article. From there, it goes back to the weekend, and the fight at hand - his battle with Jorge Santiago on the main card at UFC 130:
"I think (fighting on Memorial Day weekend) is a big deal. For me, I'm usually angry on this weekend anyway and feel like fighting, so why not get paid for it? Plus, I got an amazing fight out of it."
"Jorge and I both know the implications of this fight," Stann said. "The winner of this fight is probably going to get into a No. 1 contender bout, possibly, and we'll see what happens from there."
"This is huge. A win in this fight puts me right there with the top four or five guys in the division in the UFC, and will end all the questions of my legitimacy. (Jorge) tries to say there is no pressure on him, but realistically, he's No. 6 in the world and I'm not even in the top 10. So there is no pressure on me. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this fight."