Spurred By Mike Vick Scandal, MMA Fighter Gordon Shell Risks His Life To Fight So That Dogs Don’t Have To
Upcoming MMA event in Rochester Hills to raise awareness of animal cruelty, support MHS
ROCHESTER HILLS – When news of the Michael Vick dogfighting ring broke, Gordon Shell, a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter from Detroit, was appalled by the stories of dogs butchered and electrocuted for sport. A family man with two rescue dogs, Shell had recently taken up MMA and had a long history in combat sports. So he did what came naturally – he challenged the quarterback to a fight.
“I never heard back from him,” Shell said.
But from that challenge came an idea – that Shell would fight not for fame or for glory, but to help those animals who, unlike him, didn’t have a choice whether or not to step into the ring.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, when the 43-year-old Shell laces up the gloves for the last time, he will be donating his entire fight purse to the Michigan Humane Society (MHS), which has spent 135 years combatting animal cruelty, including dogfighting.
In addition to raising awareness of animal cruelty, the 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 counterintuitive, 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. This is the spirit embodied by MHS Cruelty Investigators, Emergency Rescue personnel and this organization’s entire staff, and it is the choice Gordon has made in risking his own life in order to help save the lives of countless dogs.”
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 on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Meadow Brook Music Festival, located at 3554 E. Walton Boulevard in Rochester Hills.
Tickets are available at www.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, 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.