Ask a UFC fighter what they are fighting for, and you’ll most probably hear money or fame as the most common answer. However, for ‘Chito‘ Vera, the reason is to be “able to see his daughter smile.” The #3 ranked UFC bantamweight has been fighting a tough mountain outside the cage, even before he appeared on the main card of some of the promotion’s stacked cards.
The Ecuadorian’s life story, let alone his mindset is very inspirational to fighters and fans alike. Despite having sensational victories over the likes of Frankie Edgar and Dominic Cruz, Vera seems to be unaffected by it. For the 30-year-old, family always comes first, even before the bright lights and his path to glory. Vera’s desperate and the sole reason to join the UFC was his family.
Chito is married to María Escobar. Together, they have three children – two daughters and a son. While everything seems okay from his outside world, the reality the couple faces on a daily basis is an unfortunate one. As for the TUF: Latin America alumni, Marlon has been fighting a tough battle, harder than his Octagon outings.
Vera participated in The Ultimate Fighter‘s Latin America version. Despite being forced out of the semifinals, Chito never lost hope. Before his debut, the Ecuadorian shared what he wants to achieve as soon as the UFC signs him. A teary-eyed Chito spoke in his native language, “The very first thing I’ll do when I’m in the UFC, is pay for my daughter’s surgery. I have never seen her smile, and that is why I am working here.”
Marlon Vera opens up about his daughter’s life-altering condition
Vera’s daughter Ana Paula was born with a rare neurological condition, Moebius Syndrome. It mainly hampers an individual’s muscles from controlling their facial expressions and eye movement. It is caused by the absence or underdevelopment of the sixth and seventh cranial nerves, which control eye and facial movements.
In an interview with CBS reporter Shakiel Mahjouri, Vera exposed his vulnerable side by opening up on the subject. Chito explains, “When I saw her, especially with the condition she had, I said ‘I cannot let my kid down’. I will say I owe my everything to that kid. because when she came into my life I changed everything around me for her.”
In an early 2016 interview, Vera added, “We found out in the clinic when she was born. It was something very hard, something that broke my heart because every father wishes [for] a healthy child. but things happen for a reason. God always has plans for all of us and those are the things that make me strong and make me fight.”
Vera’s wife was only 17 years old when she gave birth to Ana. It is worth mentioning that in 2018, the UFC bantamweight had even set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the expensive amount for Ana’s surgery. Fortunately, the MMA community came together to help the Ecuadorian and raised $19191 for her much-needed operational procedure and recovery.