‘I Am Forever Grateful’ – How The ONE Community Changed The Life Of Superfan Mur Hawk Slater

Mur Hawk Slater

Mur Hawk Slater has all the courage and resilience of a ONE Championship superstar. 

The 25-year-old from Derby, England, was born with a rare genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy type II, but despite all the setbacks he’s suffered due to the condition, he’s never stopped working to better himself. 

Inspired by his favorite ONE athletes, Slater wakes up to each new day with a positive outlook – though that wasn’t always the case. Learn more about how the British superfan moved from despair to hope – with the martial arts community as one of his biggest drivers. 

Disregarded At A Young Age 

After being born with his rare degenerative disease, Slater was confined to a wheelchair at just 20 months old.  

At school, he felt infantilized and disregarded by his teachers, despite them being the people who were supposed to help him. 

He told onefc.com: 

“I really hate that schoolteachers will talk to you like you are stupid because you’re in a wheelchair.”

MurHawkSlater AmusementPark

Knowing the severity of his condition and with little else to focus on at that time, the youngster also dealt with crippling fear on a day-to-day basis, which made his life a misery. 

He said:  

“When I was young, I had dark thoughts about dying. I was so scared. Reading stories on the internet didn’t help.”

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Finding MMA 

Fortunately for Slater, his selfless mother – a single parent – did everything she could to help her son. 

When the youngster had to endure extensive surgery for a collapsed spine, she was there to comfort him and spur him on during his road to recovery. Initially, she tried to pique his interest in boxing as something to enjoy, but this quickly pivoted to mixed martial arts, where the Derby native found his true love.  

Slater fondly recalled his early passion for the sport:

“When I was younger, my mom used to do little games with me and tell me, ‘Mur, you cannot leave your room until you can name me 10 fighters and their weight classes.'” 

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The ONE Community 

Slater became infatuated with all things MMA, with a particular affinity for ONE Championship. After feeling isolated and unseen throughout his life, he found an online community where he was both welcomed and valued.  

This was a game-changer for the Englishman’s sense of self-worth, and it has given him a fresh outlook on a future where he is regarded as an equal. 

Massively boosted by the camaraderie he found among his internet friends, he revealed: 

“Thanks to the people on Discord, especially some of whom I consider close friends, it’s so much better to wake up every day now. I look forward to the competitions, quizzes, and ONE Championship events. I look forward to it all.”

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Slater’s superfan status among the online ONE community saw him drafted in as a beta tester for ONE Fight Arena – the promotion’s official mobile game set to launch worldwide this year – where he played a crucial role. 

Topping the leaderboards in the MMA strategy game, he became a vital cog in the machine. However, he admits the process helped him just as much. 

He said: 

“I am so grateful to everybody from the ONE Fight Arena Discord Team. You really have helped me in more ways than you could ever imagine, and for that, I am forever grateful.”

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Hope For The Future 

Slater is currently a straight-A student at college and working toward a career in graphic design. 

Looking back on the darker times of his life, the inspiring Brit knows how easily he could have given up hope, but now he has plenty of fuel to keep moving forward. 

This comes from his favorite ONE athletes – particularly Liam Harrison, Rodtang Jitmuangnon, and Yoshihiro Akiyama – and he wants to let them know how much they’ve played a central role in developing his mental fortitude. 

Reaching out to his trio of role models, Slater added: 

“My dream is to one day meet you guys and be able to experience your fights. I’m one of your biggest fans. You have motivated me to develop a strong mind. Thank you for making my life more enjoyable.”

Liam Harrison, Rodtang Jitmuangnon, and Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama

If you want to join the ONE Fight Arena Discord Community and interact with fans like Mur Hawk Slater, click here. Also, for more information and news about ONE Fight Arena, click here.

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