Professional mixed martial artist Alejandra Lara has used her platform to raise awareness about the destruction caused by deforestation.

Weighing in ahead of her fight against American Taylor Turner at Bellator 225, the 25-year-old Colombian had environmental messages written on her body.

It was a decision Lara made based on the fires in the Amazon, which have been raging for more than two weeks.

There have been 72,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year. Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January. After pressure from the international community, Bolsonaro has said he will be sending the military in to help put out the fires, claiming he wanted to help protect the rainforest.

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'Stop Deforestation', 'Protect animals', and 'respect nature' were among the messages Lara had scrawled on her body. She addressed her unique weigh-in look on Instagram, in a statement which read:

"It is not only because of what is happening, it is not only for Brazil. I bring attention to the jungle because it needs it; because it is really time to do something for our future…we have governments that don't want to do anything about it.

"We have to become aware of how serious our situation is and change from the personal to have a future for children. I'm ready to fight with everything, to represent my country, my continent, my planet."

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. It is known as the "lungs of the world" and is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

Lara's message at the weigh-in was met with mixed reactions, and she posted another statement to Instagram to address the aftermath.

"A lot of people who speak about ignorance don't even know that a big part of the Amazonia is actually in Colombia and in other countries like Bolivia, Perú, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname.

"My country, also Mexico (where I'm living) and many others are suffering deforestation, fires and excessive contamination as well as the ice caps melting because of our irresponsibility. I have to say WE because at the end, the world is not as big as it seems and we're all being affected. We have a few years to work together for our world to have a future.

"I feel at peace because I'm trying to do the right things every day and reduce my impact. Hate can't affect me because I always act with love."

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