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Sean O’Malley gives fighter with Down syndrome a moment to remember

Posted: 9:39 PM, Jun 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-19 16:26:13-04

PHOENIX – Helena native Sean O’Malley is a perfect 10-0 as a professional mixed martial arts fighter and one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars.

But on Sunday, O’Malley suffered the most memorable loss of his career at the Arizona Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu state championships in Phoenix. It was a defeat that left him, his opponent and everyone in attendance smiling.

O’Malley participated in an Unlimited BJJ ‘Super Fight’ against Isaac “Ghostbuster Boy” Godoy, a local fighter with Down Syndrome.

“One of our buddy’s, Allan (Di Lucia), is his coach and owns the (Unlimited BJJ) gym and he has free classes for special needs kids,” O’Malley explained. “So he messaged me on Instagram and asked me if I wanted to compete against him and I was jacked. He said it would make his day, and I told him it would make mine, so doing stuff like that is just priceless, that’s where pure happiness is.”

So on Sunday at Phoenix College, both fighters donned their gi and took to the mat in front of hundreds of spectators. Godoy and O’Malley felt each other out in the early stages of the fight, then Godoy went for the takedown and eventually forced the UFC star to tap out with a choke.

“I wasn’t too familiar with what he was capable of doing, but his coach told me if he takes my back he can choke or he can do an armbar,” O’Malley said. “But it was a lot of fun and it was a good time.”

After the match, the two fighters hugged before Godoy threw his hands in the air to a raucous applause from the crowd.

“After watching the video and seeing him get his hand raised, it was awesome. He was just super excited,” O’Malley said. “The cool thing is, he’d be happy doing anything whether it’s jiu-jitsu or anything else, he’s just a happy kid who we could learn a lot from.”

The bout is a warm up for O’Malley’s return to the UFC octagon July 6 at UFC 239 against Marlon Vera (13-5).

Isaac Godoy celebrates after submitting Helena UFC fighter Sean O’Malley in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu event. (Courtesy: AZ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation)