5', 140 lbs., and 23 years old, Garrett “G-Money” Holeve has been a dedicated student at ATT since 2010, with a positive demeanor - by all accounts a great man to have in the gym. Given the dozens of top pros that fight out of ATT, his two exhibition fights would not be remarkable, except that Holeve has Down syndrome.
Approximately one in 700 babies born in the US each year has Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosome abnormality in humans. Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate impairments in physical growth, and mild to moderate intellectual impairment.
Everyone who steps into the cage has to overcome a lot - fear and doubt, the rigors of training, and more. In Garret's case, a lot more.
"He didn't like being the kid with Down Syndrome, the kid people felt sorry for," says UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar in a March interview. "Through martial arts he found himself. He found a passion and a purpose in his life."
As Garrett says, "fighting changed me." Among the changes was Garrett accepting that he did in fact have Down Syndrome, something he resisted so much that as a child, he didn't want to be known as Garrett, "because Garrett has Down Syndrome."
Garrett now pays it forward, teaching a student in the gym who himself has Down Syndrome.
“Them look up to me as a hero, or as a super man,” said Garrett. “Because them need a super hero.”
We all need heros, and Garrett is one of them. He had planned his first non-exhibition bout, against David Steffin, 28, who has cerebral palsy.
However, it was shut down by the State of Florida, just minutes before the fight.