Aaron Poston is one of a kind, a gem, a real rarity.
And it has nothing to do with his talents and exploits inside a steel cage, though by themselves they are impressive.
What separates Poston from all of the other ripped and tattooed combatants who strut into a weekend competition and then leave a handful of minutes later is what's on the inside.
This Saturday, Poston is on the main card of Shamrock FC: Clash at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City.
Poston, from Kansas, takes on Christian Camp and when Poston leaves the SFC cage, from a monetary standpoint, he will be none the richer. He is donating all of his money earned from the fight, from purse to his ticket-sale percentage, to a cause near and dear to him.
Ruby Wasmer was born December 30, 2013. She had a few breathing problems at birth that led to a short stay in the NICU. Ruby was given a clean bill of health and sent home but at her two-month check up a heart murmur was heard. A cardiology appointment was made and after testing a diagnosis was given: Atrial Septal Defect and Partial Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return. At least one major heart surgery is needed in order to be corrected.
Ruby is the daughter of Poston's Muay Thai coach, Wes and his wife Kay.
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) is an opening in the wall dividing the top two chambers of the heart also knows as a hole in the heart. It causes those affected to become short of breath quickly and tire easily. Partial anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (PAPVR) is when veins that are supposed to carry oxygen-rich blood to the body are instead backed up and carry that blood to the other side of the heart. The body then does not have as much oxygen. This causes fluid to build up in the body which makes the heart work harder. The heart and body tire quicker from lack of oxygen.
Ruby will need at least one major surgery next spring. Surgery involves cutting her breastbone open and repairing the defects then closing it again. She will be in ICU for at least a few days and in the hospital for at least a week depending on her recovery. Even though her parents have health insurance this will cause thousands of dollars of medical bills-estimated to be close to $10,000.
This isn't the first time Poston has donated his winnings from combat to a cause greater than himself. There was a friend struck with brain cancer and another who lost her husband in a car crash, and then there was the youngster who beat cancer after 20 rounds of chemotherapy. These are just a few examples of Poston's charity work,.
"I make enough money with teaching," Poston said. "It's not over the top but I get by just fine. There are others out there who need the money more than I do. I am just in a unique position where I can earn some extra money and help out others."
Poston teaches special education to students in 6th through 12 grade. The 33-year-old is also working on his Master's with a goal of completing his doctorate. He works with students who have severe behavior and emotional problems.
"There are good days and there are bad days but the bad days are just a little more extreme," he said. "It is rewarding when the progress happens. I have had kids who have had a lot of horrible experiences whether it was at school or home life. Where these kids come from there is no way to relate. You just have to show understanding. They have so much going against them in their lives. Our goal is to change them of that mentality."
Poston trains out of American Top Team HD, a school owned by LC Davis and Jason High. Poston was your typical high school athlete, juggling three sports. It wasn't until after high school when he ran into an old friend that he even thought of training mixed martial arts.
He got his nose broke the very first day of training but was determined. Eventually he patched together a 6-5 amateur record before going pro.
"I went pro a little too early," Poston said. "My stand up wasn't there but eventually things started to slow down."
Poston has put together a nice 9-3 mark as a pro, including six wins via submission.
"I got too comfortable fighting around Topeka," Poston said. "I was the hometown guy and I didn't get the fights I needed to push me. I bought into the whole idea of building a record."
Saturday will be Camp's fourth fight of 2015.
"He likes to stay active," Poston said. "I know he won't be gun shy. I can't get frustrated in there. I anticipate it going three rounds."
Poston is coming off a loss to Will Joplin in May. Joplin is also fighting on Saturday's card. Despite being known as a, "ground guy," Poston has had six pro boxing matches.
"I got into boxing to help force my stand up in MMA," he said. "I don't show off my boxing our Muay Thai enough. I hope I get a chance to do so this weekend."
There are less than 75 tickets remaining for #ShamrockFC this Saturday night, and a limited number of $35.00 seats for sale. Get your tickets now at https://cagetix.com/shamrockfc
Photo courtesy of Jerry Chavez Photography