“Thank you for being willing to take the time to get to know the fighters that you are broadcasting for a little better,” Lema told me when I sent him the same questionnaire I send to all fighters on events where I’ll be doing commentary.
“However, this fight isn’t about me. This fight is 100% for Jacob (Jake) Faulkner and his parents. Jake was a recon Marine who did two tours in Afghanistan. He was a recipient of many medals for his service.”
“When he came home he wasn’t the same Jake we all knew,” Lema continued. “He was different and began showing signs of PTSD. In June of this year things became too much for him and he left this world too soon (suicide by cop). The reason I am fighting is because in the months leading up to his death he began reaching out to me to get him in the gym. He wanted to train and get ready to fight in the cage. Unfortunately, I was beginning a new career in real estate and our schedules never lined up. Now that I am settled in to my new position I have had time to reflect and it really bothers me that I didn’t find the time to meet up with him. I am fighting this fight in his honor. I have also announced in the beginning that for every ticket I personally sell I will be donating $5 to his parents, who have not worked since his passing. I have also got my company Century 21 Thacker & Associates, plus a couple others to donate toward the cause.”
Lema, who sports a 6-5 record, will compete for the first time since a submission win in September 2016. The 36-year-old faces Timmy Engle (6-9) in an amateur middleweight bout. You can check out the entire Hardrock MMA 95 fight card here.
You can read more about Jake Faulkner’s story and tragic death here.