On Saturday, June 3rd, the summer youth festival was in full swing at Firth Park in Safford. Multiple booths from a variety of organizations were selling sodas and letting the children play free games. Participants braved the scorching 110 degree heat to meet the local success story, Justin Gaethje. The opening ceremony started at 11:45. Safford Mayor, Chris Gibbs, gave several brief remarks in welcoming Gaethje back to the Gila Valley, and thanking him for his visit.
After Mayor Gibb’s remarks the Boys and Girls Club presented Gaethje a t-shirt and signed photo. After the short opening ceremony, Gaethje visited each booth and visited with fans.
Gaethje is a mixed martial artist who competes in the lightweight division of the World Series of Fighting and is the current WSOF champion. The World Series of Fighting is based in Las Vegas, and promotes professional mixed martial art sports events. Gaethje is currently living in Colorado, but he spent a large portion of his childhood in the Gila Valley. He is lightweight class fighter, weighing in at 155 pounds and five feet eleven inches tall. So far, Gaethje is un defeated with sixteen wins, this including his amateur fights.