UFC’s Urijah Faber, Clay Guida and Brittney Palmerrecently traveled to Italy, on what was the trio’s first USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour. The group visited six bases in nine days, to sign autographs, pose for photos and share takedown techniques with troops.
Why did you decide to go on a USO tour?
Urijah Faber: I wanted to do my part to support our country and our troops overseas. I feel like I’m living the American dream and I’m fully aware that freedom isn’t free.
Clay Guida: It was a no brainer, I was honored to be chosen as one of the UFC representatives. I have a personal admiration and respect for our troops whever they are for whatever they do. I can only imagine how tough it must be to be away from home and family for such long periods.
Brittney Palmer: My manager recently went on a USO Tour, and he was telling me how rewarding the experience was for him. When I was presented the opportunity to go on a USO Tour, I immediately accepted. I’ve always respected our servicemen and women, and having the chance to thank them in person means so much to me. I hope that I can do another tour soon, as this experience changed my life!
What expectations did you have going in and how did that compare to the actual experience?
UF: I went on a tour in Afghanistan [visiting the troops] and I wasn’t expecting to have such nice places to stay and great food in Italy. They really treated us like kings. All the troops were awesome as expected.
CG: I didn’t really have any fixed ideas on what it would be like , I assumed it would be a bunch of meet and greets. As far as the experience it was all amazing. Doing the clinics always makes me feel at home , especially wrestling so that was fun. The experience as a whole was just so great , my family has its history in Italy so being able to see the sites , meet people and eat lots of food was something I have wanted to do for a long time.
BP: I expected an amazing time meeting the troops, and I was blown away by how many of the soldiers and their families were thanking ME for visiting them. They truly are my heroes.
What was one of your favorite moments on tour?
UF: Being on tour with Clay Guida and Brittney Palmer was super entertaining because our personalities came out and we generally got to entertain the troops through our interaction. Clay’s answers to their questions were priceless, sometimes never ending and had the crowd in hysterics.
CG:Having fun on the road with Urijah Faber and Brittney Palmer was lots of fun. Getting to meet the troops and see what it meant to them was special , its still new for me to be appreciated so much by fans , so to have people that I respect wanting my time is really flattering.
BP: I loved meeting the family members. In the States we’re grateful for all the troops do for us, but the sacrifices of the family members gets lost I think. I really enjoyed talking to the little kids and holding all the babies while Urijah and Clay taught the clinic!
If you could say one thing to all the men and women serving our country right now, what would it be?
UF: Keep doing your thing and we are very proud of you back home!
CG: I would say thank you to the thousands of servicemen and servicewomen for their sacrifice’s large and small. Thank you!
BP: To every service member, I’d tell him or her I’m immensely appreciative and grateful from the bottom of my heart for what you do. Your sacrifice and selflessness give all of us the opportunity to live our lives peacefully and free, and I’m indebted to you for it.
See more pics at USO.org!