Most fighters are in it for money or glory, but Muhammed DeReese wants to give back to his community should he win the million dollars at the end of the PFL 2019 season.
Atlantic City, NJ — Muhammed DeReese isn’t in it for the glory. But should he make it all the way through the PFL 2019 tournament, he’ll get that anyway. What he is in the game for, is the money — but not for the reason you might think. DeReese (8-1), who came back from a low blow to finish off Valdrin Istrefi at PFL 6 2019 in Atlantic City, wants to give back to his community.
Speaking to reporters including Cageside Press following his latest win, heavyweight DeReese sounded like a man on a mission. “It’s the money. I’m poor, I grew up most of my life poor,” he began. “If I can help people around me succeed, and start these programs, working on starting here with The Fighting Edge (a non-profit gym in Titusville, FL that does backpack drives, and helps people to stop fighting on streets) — so if I can put back to that, that’s the first thing I’m going to put back to. And a couple other start-up programs we have in the area.”
“I didn’t come up with a lot of material things, but I had strong family, and they always taught me to give back,” DeReese explained. “So if I can win this money and give back and help out people where I’m from, then that’s more important. Not necessarily money, but what I can do with that money.”
He certainly has a chance, and it’s a commendable goal. Though not an easy one, clearly, as was on display in Atlantic City.
Right from the get-go at the weigh-in before PFL 6, Istrefi “was looking at me all crazy. And I was like ‘what is your problem?’ Whatever,” DeReese recalled.
“So we get in the cage, and he’s eyeing me down, he’s looking, like okay whatever, they normally do,” he continued. “Then when he hit me on the nuts, right on the nuts, I ain’t gonna lie, that hurt, but whatever I’m not going to take the whole five minutes, then he had the nerve to run at me. I’m like, ‘what the hell are you thinking, man?'”
Yes, that’s right. In lieu of an apologetic glove touch, Istrefi took a run at DeReese when the fight was restarted. It didn’t sit well with DeReese, for obvious reasons. “All that pissed me off, so I came with that right hand, and I came with the vengeance of god. I finished it the same way.”
Asked if he’d ever seen anyone take a run like that off a low blow, DeReese answered “Naw, I’ve never seen that. He felt some kind of way I guess. He didn’t think he hit me in the nuts, but he did. He set himself up for destruction. He shouldn’t have ran at me. His best thing he could do is keep his range, but he got in my range. I got these heavy hands right here, I don’t care who you are, you’re going to sleep if I touch you.”
Now, it’s on to the post season, where DeReese will face Jared Rosholt. But there’s a few other names he’d like to meet at some point. “I want to see [Kelvin] Tiller again, because he gave me my lone loss. I was dominating that fight, I got caught slipping, so I want to make amends for that.”
Then there’s his pal Alex Nicholson. “I want to see my boy Spartan at some point, hopefully the million dollar fight.” It’s not that he necessarily wants to fight him, but for a chance at a million dollars, why not meet in the finals?
Ultimately, however, Muhammed DeReese will take “anybody. There’s a lot of tough guys.”
Watch the full PFL 6 2019 press scrum with Muhammed DeReese above!