ROCHESTER HILLS – Animal rights activist and pro mixed martial arts fighter Gordon Shell is donning gloves one last time – not for fame or glory, but to help those animals who aren’t given a choice about stepping into the ring.
Shell, 43, who was horrified by the Michael Vick dog-fighting situation, had at one time challenged the pro football player to a fight. Vick didn’t respond.
So, Shell took another tack, agreeing to lace up his gloves one last time on Saturday, Sept. 15, and donate the entire fight purse to the Michigan Humane Society, which has spent 135 years combatting animal cruelty, including dogfighting.
In addition to raising awareness of animal cruelty, funds will be used to support MHS’ free pit bull sterilization program, launched earlier this year, which provides local animal welfare groups and pit bull owners with certificates providing free spay or neuter surgery of pit bull-type dog, which normally costs upwards of $200.
“It sounds counter-intuitive, someone fighting in order to stop fighting,” said Michael Robbins, MHS vice president of marketing and communications. “But then you realize that there are some people out there who choose to defend those who cannot defend themselves – people who will stand up to abuse and neglect and do not what is easy, but rather, what is right.”
MMA is a dangerous sport already, but Shell has a uniquely dangerous condition. Diagnosed with a heart condition, doctors have advised Shell to not compete in MMA, citing the strains on his heart. Though he has decided to hang up his gloves, Shell will use his final fight to help animals in need.
Shell will compete in the co-Main Event of “Brawl in the Fall,” which will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at Meadow Brook Music Festival, 3554 E. Walton Boulevard, Rochester Hills. Tickets are available at Palacenet.com, the Palace Box Office, Meadow Brook Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800- 745-3000.
For more information about the Michigan Humane Society or the free pit bull sterilization program, visit www.michiganhumane.org or call 1-866-MHUMANE (648-6263), Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Animal welfare groups interested in partnering with MHS in this program can contact Marie Skladd, MHS Director of Community Outreach, at (734) 721-7300, ext. 449.