Misha Cirkunov didn’t think this could happen so close to home.
That was until his wife, Brittany Churchill received horrible news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. A professional model and advocate for a healthy lifestyle, Cirkunov couldn’t fathom the idea of his wife being impacted.
“It’s crazy. It just shows these days it doesn’t matter who you are, how well you eat, anyone can get it.” Cirkunov told MMA News. “I was doing a lot of research and reading. Apparently more than 50% of Canadians will eventually will have it, which is a crazy number. I don’t think people are as aware of it. I think there should be more awareness. People should pay attention a little bit more about towards their diet.”
Cirkunov (14-4) turned things around last year snapping a two-fight losing streak, defeating Patrick Cummins by first-round submission at UFC Fight Night 138. Scheduled to fight March 2 on the stacked UFC 235 card, it would have been an easy excuse to withdraw from the fight. But rather than letting this news impact him, Cirkunov is using his wife’s strength and focusing that energy into his fight camp.
View this post on Instagram
Thank you so much for all the love and prayers my heart is bursting! 💓I’d like to take all the attention and use it for something bigger please donate or share the link in my bio! Rethink Breast Cancer exists to empower young women concerned about or diagnosed with breast cancer wherever they are in the world and in the moments they need it most. By making a donation and helping me reach my fundraising goal, you will be supporting Rethink Breast Cancer and all young women affected by breast cancer and the people who love them. Let’s protect the future of our young women! 🎀 #RethinkBreastCancer #YoungCancer #BreastCancer #StandUpToCancer #YoungBreastCancer #BrittChurchill
“She’s doing really well, mentally she’s in good spirits. In the beginning it was really difficult because once you hear that kind of news, you realize you’re not just in a fight in competition against another human, but you’re in a fight for your life. But ever since she went public, I feel like there’s been such a strong support from our friends and family. I feel like those people give us so much more energy and power to go and deal through this hard time. [This news] just makes you more mature. Where before it’s just another day. You realize life is short, if you think about it. You just try to take the best out of everything and stay positive. Don’t pay attention to anything negative. It just really matures you a lot, you start appreciating little things.”
Originally set to face Ovince Saint-Preux, Cirkunov got the news a little over a week ago that he’d be facing rising prospect Johnny Walker instead. While it’s not an ideal situation, Cirkunov just sees this short-notice opponent as another hurdle to overcome.
“I wish I kind of knew about [the switch up] a little sooner. I only found out about it eight days ago. I kind of like a bit of short notice, it would have been nice to have a bit more time to adjust to Johnny Walker. Just because he’s very unpredictable and his style is kind of all over the place. Having said that, he’s very dangerous. But I’ve been training very hard. I was preparing myself physically and mentally. I’m in a good place. It’s most likely going to be fireworks. We’re going to go at each other. He’s fast, he likes to move, and he likes to go forward. It’s going to be fireworks, I highly doubt it’s going to be a decision.”
UFC 235 takes place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones defends his title against Anthony “Lionheart” Smith in the main event.