The president of UFC has donated £10,000 towards a fundraiser to help a Fife girl undergo a potentially life-saving brain operation.
Myla Ray, 7, from Kirkcaldy – daughter of former UFC fighter Stevie Ray – could die in her sleep without urgent surgery.
She has a severe form of epilepsy and needs treatment to help stop the dozens of seizures she suffers every day.
Stevie and wife Natalie have now set up a £100,000 fundraiser to have the op done privately and UFC chief Dana White – who has an estimated net worth of $500 million – is among those supporting the cause.
Stevie’s boss Peter Murray, chief executive of Professional Fighters League, has also made a donation of £15,000.
Stevie told The Courier that the response has been “completely overwhelming”, with the GoFundMe page – which went live on Wednesday – surpassing its target in just one day.
He said: “It has been completely overwhelming, we didn’t expect this kind of response.
“We’ve had support from across the world, with some big people getting involved, and people who don’t even know us or Myla.
“It’s quite hard to believe – in one day we’ve raised more than £100,000
“We’re really grateful for everything.
UFC president ‘saw appeal on social media’
“A lot of it has been from fighters and people that work in the MMA community but lots has come from strangers as well.
“We’ve had loads of messages from people who say it’s heart breaking and wishing us the best.”
Stevie believes White donated to the fundraiser after seeing it on social media.
He said: “I have met him and spoke to him in person, but whether he remembers it is another story.
“I am just a little fish in a big pond, but he knows who I am.”
Stevie, 33, who currently competes in the PFL, has been professionally fighting in mixed martial arts since 2010.
He and Natalie, who have three other children, shared details of Myla’s illness on the GoFundMe page.
They described how their “nightmare began” in 2019 when she suffered her first seizure and was placed in a 24-hour induced coma.
Doctors were unable to diagnose her, but following treatment, Myla made what they thought was a full recovery.
700 seizures a day
But in March 2020, her health took a turn for the worse as she took more than 700 seizures in a day.
Further tests finally revealed that Myla was suffering from frontal lobe epilepsy – but the seizures had taken their toll.
“Our little girl went right back to basics, this affected her massively – back in nappies, behaviour, memory, and her day-to-day life having to teach her basic skills,” the couple said.
Myla was prescribed medication to manage her seizures, which allowed her to live normally for a number of months, but her symptoms have now returned.
Doctors have also warned the family that Myla is at a high risk of dying in her sleep.
They say the only solution is for her to have surgery to remove the abnormality in the frontal lobe of her brain.
The couple are now in talks with a medical team in London about getting Myla the surgery, which is expected to cost upwards of £100,000.
They have been told there is a 50-60% chance it will cure her.
Stevie is currently at training camp in Bathgate as he prepares to compete in the first fight of the PFL Million Dollar Tournament in Las Vegas next month.
He says it is “tough” to spend so much time away from his family while training, especially with Myla’s condition.
He narrowly missed out on the $1 million prize last November when he was knocked out of the lightweight championship finals in New York.
He said he was “devastated” by the loss, having planned to use the cash for Myla’s surgery.