Courtesy of WEC
Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 | 8:04 p.m.
Mackens Semerzier's YouTube video
When WEC featherweight Mackens Semerzier made the decision to post a video on the Internet urging people to donate to Haiti, he said it wasn't his Haitian heritage that compelled him to do it.
It was his humanity.
"If you've got a heart, you can't watch that stuff without being concerned," said Semerzier, whose parents emigrated from Haiti to the U.S. in the late 1970s. "It's hard to watch.
"It bothers me seeing any people like that. It just happened to be that it's my people right now."
In a two-minute video posted to YouTube, Semerzier, who still has relatives on his mother's side living in Haiti, talks about the conditions survivors are living in after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake ripped through the island on Jan. 12.
He then asks anyone who sees his message to help the island.
"I think we all can do something about it," Semerzier says in the video. "I'm not asking you to empty your bank accounts or to get on the first flight over if everyone can just give $1. Haiti is crying right now and I hope the world takes heed."
The 29-year-old said he's already been amazed at how the mixed martial arts world has responded to a video he "didn't think would have a huge effect."
Most MMA news sites have either reposted or linked to the video, as well as other fighter's own pages, including BJPenn.com.
"I'm real happy the MMA world is getting together and reaching out and trying to do good things," Semerzier said. "I didn't know what kind of reaction the video would get. I thought, 'Maybe if I can reach a couple people, I'll feel like I've done my part.'
"I wanted to put it on BJPenn.com at first but the file was bigger than they usually put up. When they got word of it though they went and put it up even though it's larger than what is usually allowed to be on there."
Semerzier was the owner of arguably one of 2009's biggest upsets, defeating the heavily favored Wagnney Fabiano by submission in the first round of Semerzier's WEC debut Oct. 10.
Even before the earthquake hit Haiti, Semerzier said he was hoping to become a role model to Haitian children — much like undefeated boxer Andre Berto, who announced Monday he was pulling out of a Jan. 30 fight with Shane Mosley because of the earthquake.
"I always thought maybe I could be an example, not necessarily uplifting but maybe kids could look at me and want to be like me," Semerzier said. "I keep track of Andre Berto all the time and I think I could be like that in the MMA world. It's a very small percentage of Haitians as far as athletes go, so it's real nice to be part of that."
Semerzier hasn't visited Haiti, but he had a trip planned to go this summer with his mother.
While he admits it's unlikely that trip will happen now, he hopes the world will provide enough support to the country that it can rebuild.
"I was supposed to go with my mother, but I don't know what's going to happen now," Semerzier said. "It's absolutely something me and my wife have talked about and we want to go there."