By Curtis J Phillips
May 23, 2014 Fort McMurrays Bo The Unbreakable Cooper made his North American MMA debut with a second round TKO on punches against Neil The Steel Dotty at Unified MMA 19 in Edmonton.
For the Sweet Science Boxing and Combat Club member it was more than just a victory.
Brazilian Ju Ji Su and later Mauy Thai, Cooper was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia back in July 2010.
In a past column we told you his story. That it was not an easy battle as along with intensive chemo therapy and bone marrows, lumbar puncture, radiation to the brain and spine, he had mediastinal pneumothorax and an emergency surgery for appendicitis while at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.
March of this year he had gone to Thailand to train and improve his skills in the sport of Mauy Thai.
Much to his surprise, shortly after arriving the 6 foot 180 pound athlete was booked to fight.
“They accessed me and I fought within 10 days of getting there and I laced up the gloves. I knew my boxing skills were up to par but still they had me in a bout against a professional Lebanese fighter”, said Cooper in our previous interview.
”It was a good fight and he was a tough guy. I knocked him out in the first round with a spinning back fist. He got up after an eight count and we kept going five rounds and I won a unanimous decision.”
Going one-on-one with cancer, Cooper knew he would do well in this his first fight and any future fights.
”I’ve already been tested. I had a disease and the harshest chemo therapies and that didn’t kill me, so how is one man going to stop me. He is just another man standing across from me,” said Cooper who is a EMT with the Fort McMurray Fire Department.
Prior to the Dotty fight Cooper said ”I am ready for anything and I am going to go in there and implement my game plan and do my thing. I know he cant break me. Fighting is 80% mental and once you have that mental game, everything else comes together.”
I am Unbreakable Bo Cooper.
Unbreakable but not untouchable as shortly after beating Dotty he was told by doctors that the leukemia had returned.
Once again he returned to chemo treatment and is now in remission.
Two important life changing events have happened since then.
Cooper credits his recovery to not only to his own belief system, medical practices and family but his girlfriend Irish Crawford.
”I met her when she came in to take kick boxing classes,” reminisced Cooper with a chuckle of their initial meeting six years ago. “She has always been there for me through this and she was my rock. In my mind it is so much harder to be the caregiver and be there for the person who may be sick. She stopped everything she was doing and put her life on hold to help me. She is a big part of my inspiration to fight back.”
Well, on a recent trip to Rams Falls located in the Canadian Rockies foothills, Cooper, unbeknownst to Irish, tied an engagement ring to the end of his fishing line.
With the sound of the waterfalls only a few feet away, Cooper asked Irish to reel in the line and when she saw the ring she commented ‘Am I dreaming?’
She said yes.
The second good news…make that great news…is that Cooper is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant August 14 and the match is said to be a 10 out of 10.
Catch you on the rebound.