He takes the punches and dishes them out in practice. But a mixed martial arts fighter is being denied a chance to climb in the cage for a sanctioned bout.
Disabled mixed martial arts fighter David Steffan says he feels sucker punched. David reads an email from the State Athletic Commission: "Not to approve the bout."
David Steffan says, " I’ve trained so hard for something and help others get ready for their fights but then when I have a chance to fight and get told I can't is really upsetting."
David who suffers from Cerebral Palsy had a bout scheduled in Ralston with a Florida disabled fighter who has Down Syndrome.
But after two months of training , David didn't realize his real fight would come outside the ring with the Nebraska state athletic commission.
The State Athletic Commission refuses to sanction the bout saying neither fighter would pass a pre-fight physical, even though an athletic commission doctor hasn't examined them.
Aaron Cerrone is David's coach, "The concept he can't pass a physical is an easy way out for them to say know for the commission to say no without having to do anything. If you give him the physical he can pass it."
Though cerebral palsy weakened his left side, David says his resolve remains strong and he plans to take legal action against the state for discrimination against a disabled person.
David Steffan, disabled MMA fighter says, " I just want one fight. I want my chance just like everybody else. Everybody has a dream and they can achieve it, I think I have the right as well."
Nebraska's acting Athletic Commissioner Jim Haynes says privacy laws won't allow him to comment. However an email to the fighter from a state attorney says, "In the opinion of multiple doctors familiar with mixed martial arts, the self described condition of the contestants would place them at undue risk of serious injury."
"The commission cannot ignore this medical advice when deciding how to proceed."