Local MMA fighter, Ricky Steele, fighting for World Championship title all while helping to end human trafficking

Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 09:27:15-04

BOISE — Boise native and professional MMA fighter Ricky Steele, also known as the Karate Kid, will fight for the Legacy Fighting Alliance's greatest title, Bantamweight World Champion.

He'll face Russia's Zviad Lazishvili.

"I'm fighting an undefeated fighter from Russia. He's 12 and 0. I'm 6 and 0," said Steele.

Neither one of the fighters know what it's like to lose.

"I just expect fireworks," he said. "I train for each and every fight like I'm fighting the baddest guy in the world, and here I actually get to fight the baddest in the world."

He's spent the past month and a half at fight camp training for this specific fight, but he said that his whole career has led up to this one--the biggest one yet.

"This gentleman is a champion grappler, and I'm a champion striking fighter, so it's a classic striker versus grappler," said Steele.

Not only is he fighting for the championship belt, but he's also fighting for something much bigger than himself.

Every single penny he earns from this fight is being donated to Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps combat sex trafficking.

"It's real, and it's scary and it's time to do something about it, and right now, if we can bring a little bit of notice to it, then that's what we are going to do," said Steele.

It's a cause he knew he wanted to get behind after reading about human trafficking data and the rising number of victims.

"For me, when I first started to hear these things, like you lose sleep over it," he said. "You can't unhear these things, and it's so much easier just to turn a head and pretend like it's not happening, but it is."

The fight begins Friday at 7 p.m. MT in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You can watch it live on UFC Fight Pass.