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UFC's Tito Ortiz helps wounded vets regain strength, confidence

July 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ultimate Fighting Championship legend Tito Ortiz is taking some time to train one-on-one with a group of wounded service members. The main goal of the program is not only to help regain strength, but also to help them believe in themselves.

Ortiz is a legend in the octagon and idolized by many in the military. Now, troops wounded in action are training one-on-one with the UFC fighter.

"A little bit of the cardio, you know, while they're here with me for the whole week. Doing some of the training of jiu-jitsu and wrestling, some hand-tactic stuff, some of the stuff I know really, really well since I've been doing it for 14 years," described Ortiz.

It's all part of a program called Rehabbing with the Troops, organized by the non-profit Pro Versus GI Joe.

"I feel pain like I haven't since college football. This is awesome," said William Hanson, a wounded Army veteran from North Carolina.

Ten service members were flown in and brought to the Punishment Training Center in Huntington Beach. They will train each day this week with Ortiz while he trains for his next fight.

The troops taking part are recovering from severe injuries. Some have been told they may never work again.

This grueling workout is meant as a challenge and to show these wounded warriors they still have potential.

Army veteran Chris Miller suffered traumatic brain injuries while serving in Iraq.

"The biggest thing for me is trying to change to a new life that wasn't the way it was before. So, learning a lot of things over again, trying to learn what I'm capable of," Miller explained.

The group trained early Wednesday morning at Newport Beach, making their way through an intense obstacle course. The obstacle course included scaling walls and a tug-of-war contest.


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