A retired MMA fighter is providing free self-defense workshops at his gym to combat a sharp rise in unprovoked violent attacks in Vancouver.
Ryan Diaz is a veteran of nearly 30 MMA bouts and competed all over the world during a pro career that began in 1999. The 43-year-old currently owns and operates the MMA training facility Diaz Combat Sports, which is located in Chinatown in Vancouver.
The city has recently seen a serious increase in violent crime, and Diaz is concerned about how the attacks are being handled as well as how they’re affecting the city’s residents.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” the retired MMA fighter told ABS-CBN News. “This is probably one of the worst, if not the worst that ever it’s been and it’s just getting worse and worse because they keep letting them go.”
The report from ABS-CBN notes that there has been a total of 1,555 random assaults in Vancouver between September 2020 to August 2022, which averages out to roughly four attacks each day.
Gym Has Seen An Increase In Female Students
Diaz has openly expressed his frustration with how law enforcement and city officials are handling the increase in attacks, but the former MMA fighter has done his best to aid Vancouver residents through his fighting experience.
Diaz Combat Sports has started offering free anti-bullying training for low-income students and free self-defense seminars for women. The gym staff are also available to walk students to their cars or the bus stop following classes, as Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the areas of the city that has seen an increase in assaults.
The gym experienced a noticeable rise in female students for a number of their martial arts classes during the last few months, and Diaz says that they have prioritized empowering women to prepare them for any potentially dangerous situations they may encounter.
“Women need to realize that they are a lot more powerful than they may think. And they need to believe in themselves because if they don’t believe that they can get themselves out, how are they gonna get out? So they need to know that, like women are a lot more powerful than sometimes they give themselves credit for.”
The 43-year-old started his pro MMA career in 1999 and competed for notable promotions such as Shooto, KOTC and TKO.
Diaz’s record includes a pair of fights with former UFC title challenger Mark Hominick, and in 2007 “Lion” claimed the KOTC bantamweight title with a first-round arm bar. He was stopped by current UFC fighter Chris Gruetzemacher in a bout for Strikeforce in 2010 before closing out his career with a 2013 submission loss at ONE FC 9: Rise to Power.
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