“My full (UFC) fight kit — hat, shirt, gloves, shorts — I’m going to auction on eBay and donate the money to Second Harvest Food Bank of Lafayette, Louisiana,” Poirier told MMA Fighting ahead of Saturday night. “So, the highest bidder is going to win all the stuff, and I’m going to donate all the money to Second Harvest.”
Second Harvest Food Bank provides food “to 582 partners and programs across 23 parishes,” making up “the largest anti-hunger network” in the state of Louisiana, according to the foundation’s official website. And for Poirier, a native of Lafayette, the decision to give back to his hometown felt like a no brainer once he realized the many fight kits handed out by Reebok for his every UFC bout were going to waste tucked away in some dresser drawer.
“There has recently been more flooding in Louisiana,” Poirier said. “We had a bad flood last year, and recently have had more flooding. Everything’s fine, but I was just looking for a way to help out. I wanted to do something, and I have these fight kits laying around from fights that I’m never going to do anything with but train in the shirts.
“So if I can benefit somebody else’s life from letting go of something I wore for a fight, I’ll do that. So, why not? I’m going to do that for every fight, probably, from here on out. I might pick different charities, but this is a local charity in the heart of the city where I’m from, and it’s something I was passionate about doing.”
The issue hits close to the heart for Poirier, who recently moved back to his native Louisiana to help his young daughter be closer to family as she approaches her first birthday. Poirier did so even while remaining a regular at the American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek, Florida, and he hopes that by giving back to Second Harvest, he can help make an difference in the community he once again calls home, even if it only ends up making a small headway into a much larger problem.
“The side of town, the side of Louisiana that I grew up on, there’s a lot of poverty,” Poirier said. “One in five homes need help, and a lot of children are wondering where their next meal is coming from.
“It’s just something that, man, for me as a fighter, I cut weight, I diet eight weeks out of a fight camp, I come here to fight week and I cut weight, I have to stop eating and start really working hard. And I know my meal is coming. I’m about to eat like a king on Saturday night. I know my meal is coming, and just the thought of hunger and all of that, it’s just, it’s a horrible thing. And for kids to have to wonder where their food’s coming from? Anything I can do to help is worth it.”
While Poirier won’t place any undue expectations on the auction, there’s no doubt that the opportunity he faces at UFC 211 could lead to bigger and better things. A win over a former champion like Alvarez would stand as the biggest of Poirier’s UFC career and instantly vault him into the upper-tier of the lightweight division, pushing his Octagon record to 6-1 since moving back up to 155 pounds.
At that point, a title run could be next. And Poirier intends to continue his new post-fight ritual every step along the way.
“One-hundred percent,” Poirier said. “This is something I’m going to do every fight from here on out.”