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Firas Zahabi launches innovative new fighter-funding scheme

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Montreal’s Tristar Gym has a well-deserved reputation for being forward-thinking and that is in large part down to their head coach Firas Zahabi, who went from student to coach and owner over the years but has retained an open and inquisitive mind.

That entrepreneurial nature has resulted in today’s announcement of his latest project, a financial innovation inspired by Evan Tanner and aimed at freeing the aspiring fighter from the burden of debt and money worry while at the same time giving fans some pretty cool stuff.

‘Fund A Fighter’ - which can be found at www.fundafighter.com is described as “an MMA community hub and fundraising portal for fighters” which “supports them in the planning and execution of crowdfunding campaigns in which they solicit donations from fans in exchange for unique incentives like event tickets, autographs, fight-worn gear, or whatever rewards they are willing to give their backers.”

Zahabi thinks the new venture will change the landscape of the sport for the better, removing a lot of the financial roadblocks fighters face when preparing for fights, such as travel, hiring coaches and making sure that their nutritional needs are being met.

“This is the best thing to happen to MMA since Sherdog,” Zahabi said ahead of Tuesday’s launch, which commenced with the first two FAF fighters being announced: UFC featherweight Joey Gambino and The Ultimate Fighter 13 veteran, welterweight standout Chuck “Cold Steel” O’Neil.

Gambino says that he believes that the concept is one that will take off once his peers realize the benefits.

“Knowing that I won’t have to struggle financially to cover all of my expenses for my next training camp will be a huge weight off my shoulders. I’ll be training August, September and October and am hoping to fight at UFC 154 or another card in November and now I won’t have to worry about money for those three months if I can reach my goal,” he explains.

“I used to have to bounce to pay my bills while I was in Montreal training and now I can just concentrate on preparing for my fights. Its awesome.”