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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cleveland's Mac Danzig, Ultimate Fighting Champ, Hooks PETA Youth Award

Courtesy of PETA:

Welterweight Champ Uses Vegan Diet for Endurance

For Immediate Release:
February 5, 2009

Cleveland -- Cleveland native Mac Danzig--who went on to become the Ultimate Fighting welterweight champion after switching to a healthy vegan diet--has won a Libby Award from peta2, the world's largest youth animal rights organization. Danzig was voted Most Animal-Friendly Athlete by visitors to peta2.com as part of the group's third annual Libby Awards (for "liberation"), which honor animal-friendly people and products.

Danzig won The Ultimate Fighter 6 and is under contract to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Although he went vegan out of concern for cruelty to animals, he won 12 fights in a row after the switch, and he feels that this is a testament to his healthy diet. "Animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses don't have a fighting chance," said Danzig in a peta2 ad. "I don't eat animals because I don't want to contribute to their suffering--it's that simple."

Danzig went vegan as an adult, but he first became concerned about the suffering of farmed animals early in life. "I remember being 13 and seeing a truck on the interstate filled with pigs all headed to the slaughterhouse. One of them made eye contact with me for a while. It was one of the saddest moments I can remember. There was so much intelligence and spirit in him, and here he was, being sent to an awful death."

In peta2's contest, Danzig narrowly beat out other vegetarian animal-friendly athletes, including NBA stars Raja Bell and Ron Artest, Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard, and major league baseball player Prince Fielder.

"Mac Danzig is living proof that going vegetarian makes you feel good, inside and out," says Lara Sanders, peta2's assistant manager of marketing. "Mac slams animal abuse to the mat every time he eats, so it's great to be able to honor him for his commitment."

There were 30 Libby Awards this year, including Best Vegan Shoes, Best Vegan Junk Food, Best Student Group, Best Hip-Hop Artist, and Person of the Year. Winners will receive plaques and will be featured on peta2.com.

For more information and to view all the nominees and winners, please visit peta2.com.