WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Former UFC fighter, Bubba McDaniel was back in the ring for the first time Saturday night after the death of his two-year-old son, Wilder McDaniel.
Wilder was found at a Wichita Falls home and was pronounced dead in October 2018.
In January, the preliminary autopsy report showed the cause of death was undetermined. The manner of death was also undetermined.
“Motivation is there because I want to do well,” said Bubba McDaniel, Wilder’s father. “I want to do well that way everybody gets to stand up and cheer and bring my sons name.”
Before the fight, we talked to McDaniel about returning to the ring.
“I want to be going out there and putting on a show that everyone expects me to put on for my sons memory,” said McDaniel.
The spirit of his two-year-old son Wilder McDaniel isn't the only one cheering him on.
“One of my best friends in the world was named Jason Hernandez, so he went by Jason and we named Wilder, Jason Wilder McDaniel when he was born,” said McDaniel. “It was kind of one of those things that I thought, I have my Jason back. It’s crazy that the world has taken two of them from me.”
The big night, marked six years since Hernandez 's death, so McDaniel was ready to fight for him and his son.
“He is normally mixed martial arts,” said Steven Wright, McDaniel’s coach. "That is his main discipline but tonight he is doing kickboxing and as the months went on he
showed me more skills so I'm excited to see what happens tonight."
Saturday night, McDaniel took on Tommie Britton from Oklahoma City, but before they hit the ring fans honored Wilder by donating money to the Justice for Wilder Foundation.
“People have been reaching out to us and the support has been amazing,” said Amber Odom, Wilder’s mother.
One that, Wilder's mother believes he would be very proud of, regardless if his father wins or loses.
"He loved everyone," said Odom. "He loved being the center of attention just like his dad, so I know he's loving tonight and he loves all the superhero logos for him."
The support was big enough to give him the strength to win the fight. A night, his two-year-old son would be very proud of.
"He never really liked watching me fight but at the same time I'm sure uncle Jason had him in his arms up there hugging him tight and just showing him 'look here we go' and making it a good time for him," said McDaniel.
A total of $4,500 was raised Saturday night. That money will go towards the Justice for Wilder Foundation