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UFC's Marlon Vera starts GoFundMe to help pay for ill daughter's costly surgery

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

UFC bantamweight Marlon Vera continues to fight for a smile.

Last week, the Ecuadorian fighter started a GoFundMe page, with help from his manager, in hopes to raise enough money to pay off a costly surgery for his 4-year-old daughter, Ana Paula.

"It's something I wanted to do so that people can unite and so I can count with the support of the people that follow me, the people that know my story that know that I want to fight for my family and that I fight to achieve my daughter's surgery," Vera said.

Vera last fought on February at UFC Fight Night 84 in London, England against Davey Grant. Leading up to his fight with Grant, reported Vera's desire to pay off Ana Paula's surgery with his win bonus and maybe a Performance of the Night award. However, things didn't go well for Vera in London as he lost a unanimous decision to Grant.

Almost two years after appearing on The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, Vera is still on a mission to see Ana Paula smile since her rare neurological condition impedes her from having any type of facial expression.

Notable UFC fighters like Fabricio Werdum, Carlos Condit, Derek Brunson and Bec Rawlings have decided to support Vera's cause by sharing his GoFundMe page online.

"I'm very thankful for them because I asked them a favor and they've helped me with no problem, so I feel in debt with them and I appreciate what they're doing for me," Vera said.

For now, ‘Chito' hopes to get back in the cage soon and says he wants to fight sometime in June or July.

"I really want to fight again. I hope that I get another fight because I need the money, you know. I'm going to prepare myself better and I wont me doing any more training camps in Ecuador. I believe that's the reason why I haven't done so well," Vera said.

Vera will be moving to San Diego in the following weeks and will be doing his training at Victory MMA. Once he gets settled in, he plans on moving his wife and two kids with him. Vera believes his move to the United States is crucial for his fighting career since he was the only professional fighter training out of his camp in Ecuador.

"In Ecuador, MMA is not very popular and people don't practice it 100 percent professionally," Vera said. "If I had a close fight [with Grant] and I'm training this way, most likely I will probably do better if I do a camp with people that know what they are doing, with training partners that are in the same league and that have the same vision and hunger that I have. I think this makes a lot of sense and I think it's time for me to move to the United States in search of a better future for me and my family."

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