Brian Ortega to donate $100K of UFC 303 purse to church after experiencing life-changing ‘Man Camp’

Brian Ortega has a different type of motivation going into UFC 303 on Saturday.

Ortega (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) was not originally scheduled to fight at the event. But then the phone rang with an opportunity to fight Diego Lopes on 17 days’ notice in a featherweight bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (ESPN+ pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+), as part of the restructured International Fight Week lineup in the aftermath of Conor McGregor’s injury withdrawal.

Ortega revealed he was planning for a move up to the lightweight division for a Sept. 14 fight at UFC 306 before being offered the fight with Lopes (23-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC). “T-City” is coming off a third-round submission of Yair Rodriguez in February and hasn’t fought more than once in a calendar year since 2018, so stepping into this spot doesn’t exactly jive with his history.

But Ortega wanted to do something “nerve racking,” he said, so he jumped on the offer. More than that, however, he told MMA Junkie that a huge part of his decision to compete at UFC 303 is so that he can donate $100,000 of his purse to Fearless Church in Los Angeles.

“I’m fighting for a bigger cause on this one, so it fuels me this fight,” Ortega told MMA Junkie ahead of UFC 303. “I’m going to use the money and give it to church. I’m going to help a lot of men. It’s basically the main reason why I accepted the fight.”

According to Fearless Church, “a scared world needs a fearless church” and people need to “love more, fear less.” Ortega, 33, said he recently attended Fearless’ “Man Camp,” along with his children. He described the experience as “life changing,” and that’s what prompted him to step in the octagon against Lopes on short notice.

“It was my Pastor and I – we went to this thing, Man Camp, and we did that, and after that it was life-changing,” Ortega said. “A lot of men got saved. A lot of men got to be themselves authentically without no judgement. It was real. In a world where everything is just kind of fake, it was real for me. To see all this, to have my children there – I want that for more people.

“If I can donate $100,000 and make that happen this year on a bigger surface. It was just 160 people. If I can make that happen with 300, 400, 500 people, that’s what I’m going to do, and that’s why I took this fight.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 303.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie