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SportsMixed Martial Arts

Ian Matuszak receives blue belt in jiu-jitsu from Pete Sell

On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, UFC star Chris Weidman gave a pep talk at his alma mater to the Baldwin football team. He talked to the athletes about the virtues of working hard and not giving up.

The man of the hour delivered the line of the night with equal parts honesty and humor.

With his brand new blue belt tied firmly around his waist, Ian Matuszak removed the white belt tucked between his left leg and his wheelchair handle, handed it to someone and said, "I don't need this anymore."

Indeed, he does not.

Matuszak, a 20-year-old from Westbury with cerebral palsy, was awarded his blue belt in jiu-jitsu on Saturday night from his instructors Pete "Drago" Sell and Dave Patton. It was part of an event at Longo & Weidman MMA in Garden City to help raise funds for Matsuzak's medical costs. He recently was diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer.

Sell, a former UFC fighter, is a black belt under former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, who is a black belt under Renzo Gracie. The entire lineage was in attendance for Matsuzak's surprise belt promotion.

Also there were UFC middleweight champion (and black belt under Serra) Chris Weidman, Al Iaquinta, Eddie Gordon, Aljamain Sterling, trainer Ray Longo and about 200 other people. Commercial Avenue was packed with parked cars as the jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts community showed up to support Matuszak. The "I Stand With Ian" gofundme donation topped $8,400 on Saturday night.

Watch the video above to see Matuszak's blue belt ceremony.

New York Sports