Well-wisher aids MMA fighter in fight for his life

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Wrestling isn’t what it used to be. Now MMA fighting, or mixed martial arts, is the new full-contact combat sport of choice.

But one local fighter is in the fight of his life, struggling to survive after a bad accident nearly killed him.

In this week’s Pass It On, fans try to help his worried family.

Playmaker Nikki Durdin is not only a fan of V3 MMA fighter Justin Craven, she’s also an official V3 photographer – and knows enough to know nobody calls him Justin.

“Everyone knows Justin as Mr. Miami and he helps anybody he can. He’ll do anything in his powers to make sure somebody’s having a good day, whether they’re upset, he’ll tell jokes. He’s crazy,” she said.

But now Mr. Miami, who also survived a tour of duty in Iraq while in the National Guard, is in the fight of his life.

About a month ago, he fell asleep at the wheel on I-40 outside Jackson after a match in Nashville. He veered across the highway and hit an 18-wheeler, destroying the SUV he was driving.

Justin came within an inch of his life, and after more than a couple of weeks in a coma, #MiracleMiami is now trending.

“He opened his eyes and he can move his eyes, and when people say stuff to him, he can blink his eyes and let us know he hears us,” Nikki said.

He’s even blowing kisses to the nurses.

Even though Nikki never met her, she wants to help Justin’s mom, Lauri, who’s known as Momma Miami. She’s been at Regional One’s ICU ever since the crash and is trying to hold everyone together.

We met Lauri in the waiting area, where Nikki handed over $1,000.

Lauri was so overwhelmed at first, she asked Justin’s friend Chantein to talk for her.

“She’s very thankful for everyone that’s helped out for Justin. She’s blown away by how many people love him,” Chantein said.

Now that Justin is out of a coma, he needs to get well enough for rehab, which Lauri knows will take time and money.

“It’s just going to be a long, slow process of getting him where we need to get him,” she said.

That process has been made a little easier by Nikki’s generosity.

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