by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Recently, a number of UFC fighters visited troops in Afghanistan as part of a goodwill tour in support of the troops’ efforts overseas. Two of the fighters, Heath Herring and Kenny Florian, recently spoke to MMAWeekly Radio about the trip to visit the troops and their experiences in Afghanistan.
“It was awesome, one of the best experiences of my life to be honest with you,” said Herring about the trip.
Herring also spoke about the welcome and treatment the UFC fighters received from the men and women fighting in Afghanistan.
“We got the royal treatment; we had a great time. We got to go to the Special Forces camp with all the green berets and work out with those guys. We got to fly around in helicopters; I’m telling you it was the time of my life,” said Herring.
Florian echoed similar sentiments about the troops’ reaction to the fighters visiting.
“They were pumped. I mean the hardcore UFC fans couldn’t believe we were there and they just freaked out. Some of these guys have been out there for like 15 months without seeing anybody and their living conditions are pretty rough.”
The reality of the situation was also quick to set in on the fighters who saw a very harsh war zone where American troops are literally dying everyday. Florian spoke to MMAWeekly about the situation in Afghanistan and the respect he has for the troops risking their lives in the war.
“From the moment you landed in Afghanistan you knew you were in a war zone,” stated Florian. “I was flying around in Blackhawks, flying around Afghanistan with the doors open and anyone would be able to shoot you down. It puts things into perspective, these guys put their lives on the line 24/7 and they’re on alert all the time. It’s just inspiring, I mean think about all the nerves you have going into the Octagon and these guys are out in the field hunting down the Taliban or being hunted down themselves. Its crazy out there; the job they’re doing is amazing.”
Heath Herring also spoke about the loss of life that they saw first hand when visiting the troops overseas.
“Six servicemen died while we were over there unfortunately and they had what’s called ‘the fallen comrade ceremony’ which we were part of one. It kind of brings it home to you; they’re risking their lives every day. It’s no joke,” said Herring about the fallen troops.
Both fighters seemed very appreciative to be able to do something for the troops and Herring hopes to relive the experience again in the future.
“I’d really like the chance to go to Iraq to go hang out with the servicemen over there,” said Herring. “I mean, how many chances do you have to go over to Afghanistan, and not only that, but how many times do you get to hang out with our servicemen and tell them thanks for all the wonderful things they’ve done. They’re not getting paid that much and they’re doing a whole lot.”