by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com

Normally the odds would be very slim that your average every
day Joe could beat a world class MMA fighter such as Matt “The Law” Lindland.


However, such an opportunity may have risen.


On Dec. 12, Lindland will be one of many Team Quest
personalities who will participate in a Texas Hold ’em Poker Tournament to
benefit their recently formed Team Quest Community Services Program.


“We’ve been noticing a need for a teen MMA program, and we’ve
also been seeing that the kids need the values and principles that they learn
through martial arts,” Lindland said of the inspiration for the program.  “We’re using martial arts to teach
discipline, self respect, and self esteem.  We’re trying to help these kids build some confidence and
not be bullies or be bullied by other kids.”


Since the program’s launch a few
short weeks ago, over 40 children have enrolled, and with more on the way, the
team saw the need to host an event that would help raise money to keep the
program moving forward.


“Some of these kids are foster kids, have a rough home
(life), maybe they’ve got one parent, and they’re not all able enough to pay
for gym memberships, so we were looking for some kind of an event to help raise
some money to accommodate more kids in this program,” explained Lindland.


“We know a lot of our fighters like to play poker, the fans
who are members do, so we’re going to use it as an opportunity to raise
awareness about the program and just have a social event before the new year
starts with our members and people in the community come out and meet the
fighters, meet the team and play poker together.  It’s a good opportunity to get out and have a good time.”


Well known as one of MMA’s fiercest competitors, Lindland
acknowledges that his skill at the card table might not quite match up to his
abilities in other venues.


“I’m not the best poker player,” he admitted.  “If I get the right cards, I’m okay,
but I’m not the kind of guy who puts a lot of time into it.  It’s kind of like my golf game; I’ll do
it for a good cause, and I’ll go out and do it as a social event, but it’s not
something I normally train at.


“Now, if we’re talking about salmon or steelhead fishing, we’re
talking about a guy who’s on top of his game.”


While Lindland may be good with a rod and reel, most people
know him for his game inside the cage, which he’ll be able to once again
display the week after the poker tournament on Dec. 19 at Strikeforce: Evolution.


“It was a while with them deciding on which card to put me
on, who the opponent was going to be,” commented Lindland.  “I think they’ve just got a lot going
on with events being planned, the Showtime and CBS deals, and I think they’re
finally getting things organized.


“The machine’s moving, they’re rolling out now and I’m happy
to be part of it.”


Currently Lindland is scheduled to face Ronaldo “Jacare”
Souza, a fighter he once lost to at the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling
Championships.  According to
Lindland, while Jacare may have gotten the best of him in 2003, it’s a whole
new ballgame this time around.


“This isn’t a grappling match, that’s for sure,” stated
Lindland.  “I’ve taken down my
share of black belts in MMA, and I don’t see this being any different.”


While furthering his main career is firmly Lindland’s
current focus – sometimes putting in upwards of six hours a day training
for his Strikeforce debut – he doesn’t mind taking time out of his hectic
schedule for other causes, and urges others to get in on the action and try to
take him down at the Team Quest Texas Hold ’em Poker Tournament.


“You can find out all the information on events going on at
the gym by going to www.TQMMA.com,” said
Lindland.  “We’ve got a ton of
events going on like the poker tournament and the grand opening of the Redding (Calif.)
gym on Dec. 4.


“Anyone in Redding make sure you
come down and visit with me and Dan (Henderson); we’ll be down there for the
grand opening.  (As for Strikeforce)
I’m looking forward to going out there and putting on a show for the fans.”