[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n celebration of America’s 238th birthday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), in sponsorship with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Dodd Camera, is granting two Chicago-area Latino Air Force veterans, Denisse Montoya and Geovanni Fierro, media access to cover UFC 175 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. These veterans will be covering the event under the flag of EXTRA Bilingual Newspapers and will assist Michael Bacos, a Navy vet and sports photographer for EXTRA.
“I came up with the idea because I am just an average sports fan who is fortunate enough to get amazing access to these events. I wanted to give other veterans, who are sports fans and have an interest in journalism, an opportunity to feel the same joy I felt when I first started covering these events. Also, I want to give them the opportunity to see if sports journalism was for them under the limelight of a huge sporting event,” said Bacos.
Denisse Montoya served in the Air Force from 2008-2012 and was stationed in Lajes Field in the Azores and Aviano Air Base in Italy. Montoya left the Air Force to continue to pursue her education at Northeastern Illinois University. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to experience both Vegas and the fights with friends,” said Montoya.
Geovanni Fierro served in the Air Force from 2006-2011 and his career took him to Italy, Portugal and Turkey. He actually was stationed at Lajes Field when Montoya was there. After Fierro left the Air Force, he became a nursing student at Chamberlain University. “I’m beyond excited. I don’t think words describe the opportunity of getting to work there, to be around the fighters and the media,” said Fierro.
Along with covering the fights for EXTRA, they will be helping to spread the awareness of the IAVA, who is sponsoring them with airfare and apparel, with Dodd Camera providing photography equipment.
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