MMA Fighter Burton Showing His Heart Inside and Outside the Cage This Saturday at Joe Louis Arena

May 17, 2013
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Heart is vitally important to a fighter. It's what keeps him fighting when exhaustion is setting in and things aren't going the way they're supposed to. Every great fighter must have a big heart to succeed.

But having a heart outside the cage or ring isn't as common, either in fighters or everyday people, which is why when a warrior shows his heart outside the cage, it deserves to be celebrated like a great victory.

He's not doing it to get people out to watch him fight. Redford, Michigan's Damian Burton already has hundreds of tickets sold to his next cage match, against Grand Rapids striker Brandon Bates, as one of the featured bouts of Donofrio MMA's "Impact Fight League 57: War of Aggression" event this Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Tickets for Impact Fight League 57: War of Aggression can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge), at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. VIP Reserved Cage Side Tables available at 248.770.6000.

Burton is doing it because he cares and he wants to.

"I've been helping the St. Baldrick's Foundation because they're doing a lot of things for childhood cancer. So far, I've raised over $1700 in donations, plus I'm donating all the proceeds from my ticket sales for this fight to them, so that should be a pretty good amount."

Earlier this year, 28-year-old Burton even collected some friends and teammates at MASH Gym to get their heads shaved as part of a St. Baldrick's fundraising drive. It's all par for the course for a fighter who describes himself as respectful and concerned for his opponents' safety.

"I'm very humble. I like to get in and get it done, safely as possible with respect for my opponent. I do like to put on a good show for the fans and come out with the win, but you can do it in a way that also shows respect for the sport and the man you're facing."

Burton, who trains twice a day at MASH Gym in Redford, Warrior Way Martial Arts Academy in Walled Lake, and The World's Best Boxing Gym in Detroit, is a Jiu Jitsu specialist with an ever-improving repertoire of strikes.

"I'm very well-rounded for this fight and comfortable wherever it goes. I try to be ready for everything. Training went great. I've got no injuries and I pushed it to the limit. I'm on weight and ready to get in there."

He describes his opponent, Bates, as no easy assignment. "He's a taller guy, a good striker and a tough dude. He's 6-2. I train for the best, so I don't really pay attention to the opponent too much. I have to be ready for anything. I'll start on the feet, but I'll have big advantage if it goes to the ground."

With thousands expected at the show and so many coming to support him directly, Burton admits the pressure is amped up from a normal fight.

"It's an honor to have so many fans an friends come out to watch you. No one ever wants to lose. It puts a little more weight on your shoulders, but it's part of the game."

He is a new-age warrior. Tough as can be with a human side. Where others speak of crushing their opponents, he expresses a desire to win respectfully and to further the human race in any small way he can.

The kid has heart.

"I like to get kids into MMA and show people it's not just a brutal sport. Not just a bunch of tattooed guys going out to fight. We've got big hearts and it's an opportunity to give back in any way possible. I'd like to get some of these kids to walk me out to the stage. I'm excited to be walking out there, so I'd love to share it with them and get their mind off things for a bit. We've got it good, so we should help whenever we can."

Tickets for Impact Fight League 57: War of Aggression can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge), at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. VIP Reserved Cage Side Tables available at 248.770.6000.

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