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Giga Chikadze of Georgia prepares to fight Jamey Simmons in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Knockout Cancer: Giga Chikadze’s Driving Force

How UFC Featherweight Giga Chikadze Transformed His Grief Into Action, And Helped Hundreds In The Process

As Giga Chikadze gets closer to his first career UFC main event, the featherweight contender can't help but wish his biggest fan could be there to watch it.

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Chikadze's mother Nino, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2013, was Chikadze's biggest supporter. She inspired him to pursue his career in fighting and taught him the importance of fighting for something bigger than himself.

The hardships that Chikadze witnessed his mother, family and friends go through during the period in which she fought cancer inspired him to start assisting others in similar situations. He felt firsthand how physically, emotionally and financially draining it can be to fight the disease.

“Pretty much whatever we had was from family, but a lot of other people were helping us because I was a fighter,” Chikadze told UFC.com. “This made me think that if somebody didn’t have anybody, any family or any celebrity in their family or something like this, how would they collect those finances?”

In 2014, Chikadze and his sister Keso started a charity titled “Knockout Cancer,” which assists individuals fighting cancer with financial support for medical bills, chemotherapy and medical evaluations. Typically, Chikadze uses money from his fights and endorsements to fund Knockout Cancer’s efforts.

“Usually, we finance the medical bills and also, we support post chemotherapy and post-surgery processes, as well,” Chikadze said. “Let’s say, to go to check again to go to the doctor or do an MRI or other procedures.”

To date, the Chikadzes have helped nearly 225 people across the world, with Keso working to identify those in need and facilitate donations while Chikadze fights to create awareness and help earn funds. Chikadze and Keso have big plans in 2021 to expand the reach of Knockout Cancer and help as many people as possible.

“We are hoping to multiply this more by hundreds and thousands in the future,” Chikadze said. “I know that my fund isn’t really big yet, but I know for those people it was still big and I’m proud of it.”

Using his desire to help others as motivation has boded well for the soon to be 33-year-old. Since joining the UFC in 2019 he has gone 6-0 and maneuvered himself into the top 15 of the UFC featherweight rankings. With each fight he knows he’s getting more eyes on him and that means more light will shine on Knockout Cancer.

“We started this pretty early, in 2014, and we’ve been pushing slowly. Since I moved [to the United States] I was waiting for the time where the big media would ask me about it,” Chikadze said. “We’ve been waiting for the right time to promote this. I believe we can help more people. We are finally getting there.

“The bigger I get in the fight game I believe the charity will be doing better and better. It’s one of the motivations for me. When I fight, I know I don’t fight just for me; I fight for my people, for Georgian people, and for the people we help.”

For more information on how you can contribute to Knockout Cancer, please visit https://www.kocancer.charity/.