Article

James Head: Stepping Up to Aid Oklahoma Tornado Victims

UFC welterweight James Head aids Oklahoma tornado victims...
UFC welterweight James HeadThe first thing James Head did when he moved to Edmond, Oklahoma five years ago was put a tornado shelter in his house. That’s almost like setting up a barbecue or deck in the yard anywhere else – it’s part of life in that area of the country.

And though tornadoes are always a clear and present danger, they’re not something that stops the residents of the state from carrying on with their daily routines.

“You kind of get numb to it and that’s obviously a problem,” said Head. “People in Oklahoma are so used to tornado season and it’s just something that they live with. I had a guy that I worked with that lost his house. He lived out on a farm, and it was a pretty isolated event, so we helped him clean up his stuff and go through it, but I haven’t been around long enough to see anything like this.”

“This” was the devastating tornado that hit the state on May 20, leaving 24 people dead and nearly 400 injured while destroying or damaging 12,000 homes. Most of the damage centered on the city of Moore, south of Oklahoma City and around 20-25 miles from where Head lives. The UFC welterweight’s gym is even closer, only five miles from the center of the storm, and as the weather reports grew more ominous last week, it became a tense waiting game.

“We had a tornado come through the day before, and it was a small one,” he recalled. “It landed in Edmond and did some damage to houses but it wasn’t devastating, and then once it got east of the city, it got bigger and bigger.”

Meteorologists called it “perfect tornado weather,” and as the tornado sirens went off, Head was let out of his engineering job at Chesapeake Energy, allowing him to go home and see the devastation for himself through television.  

“Our weathermen in Oklahoma are pretty spectacular with their five or six storm chasers located all over the metro, where you can kind of watch and know exactly where it’s going,” he said. “So there was plenty of warning, we knew there was going to be a tornado and it was likely to touch down in Moore. We just didn’t realize the severity until you are watching it on TV and they have live coverage with helicopters, and you really just can not believe your eyes.

The tornado, which was rated an EF5 (the highest category of a storm) was a mile and a half wide, and the destruction was unyielding. In Edmond, there was only some rain, but it didn’t put Head’s mind at ease at all, because despite being an Illinois native, he’s an Oklahoman now, and a proud one at that. So he, like many others in his home state, decided to help his neighbors.

“After all the devastation there was just instant support from everybody,” he said. “The community really rallied together and they are just a really resilient group of people. With such a devastating thing happening they’re pulling together, and they rebuilt once and they are going to rebuild again. There’s just a moxie about them and it really inspired me to see people doing what they can and giving what they can. I remember going to the grocery store to go grocery shopping and someone was there just to buy stuff for the victims, like bottles of water and toilet paper. The shelves were already cleared out the day after the storm, so people just flooded the Sam’s and flooded to Walmart and are really helping where they can. That was an inspirational thing to me.”

So inspirational that Head is donating his entire purse from his next fight (to be announced) to the relief efforts in Oklahoma. He’s also been making the rounds on Twitter (@thejameshead), pointing people to the Red Cross as well as to CageFighter’s website, where they are selling a Pray4OK t-shirt where 100% of the proceeds benefit tornado victims.

“If you drive through Moore right now it looks like a warzone,” said Head, who saw a couple of members at his strength and conditioning gym lose their homes. “It’s unbelievable the devastation on the people’s houses that were just wiped off the map in a matter of minutes. This isn’t going to be fixed in a week when the media and the cameras go away; it’s going to be a long month after month of it. We are just going to have to pull together and continue to help out in any way we can for the months to come. And every little bit helps.”

It does, and despite the specter of another tornado tearing through the state and possibly bearing down on his city, Head isn’t going anywhere. To him, this is home, and when something happens close to home, you don’t run away; you roll up your sleeves and help those who need it.

For information on relief efforts, visit www.redcross.org or www.salvationarmyusa.org








Watch Past Fights

일요일, 5월 8
Rotterdam, Netherlands

미디어

최근
플라이급 최고의 스피드와 정확도를 자랑하는 쿄치 호리구치. 체급 내에서 가장 흥미진진한 경기를 선보이는 선수이기도 하다. 호리구치는 UFN 로테르담 대회에서 닐 시리를 상대로 UFC 파이트패스 대진의 마지막을 장식한다.
2016. 5. 4
군나르 넬슨은 자신의 고국에 대한 자부심을 지니고 있다. 자신의 뿌리, 아이슬란드에 대한 자부심이 오늘날의 군나르 넬슨을 만들어냈다. 넬슨은 UFN 로테르담 대회 메인카드에서 알베르트 투메노프를 상대한다.
2016. 5. 4
UFC 헤비급 안드레이 알롭스키는 일요일 UFN 로테르담 대회에서 알리스타 오브레임에게 KO승을 노린다. 알롭스키가 이번 매치업에 대해서 이야기한다. 본 대결은 로테르담 대회의 메인이벤트며 폭스스포츠 1 채널을 통해 일요일 중계된다.
2016. 5. 4
마우리시오 쇼군은 UFN 브리즈번 대회에서 전광석화같은 타격으로 제임스 테 후나를 쓰러드린다. 쇼군은 5월 14일 UFC 198 대회에서 코리 앤더슨을 상대한다.
2016. 5. 4