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Thread: Court McGee: “I was living in a meth lab trailer, using drugs … now I’m a pro athlete

  1. #1
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    Default Court McGee: “I was living in a meth lab trailer, using drugs … now I’m a pro athlete

    Court McGee: “I was living in a meth lab trailer, using drugs … now I’m a pro athlete”
    Could you please tell me a bit about your life growing up?

    Yeah, man. I grew up in Layton, Utah on a family farm. We did various chores on the farm and just grew up working, man. I wrestled and did karate—I got into karate when I was about five—and I did that for a number of years. One of my instructors was doing some mixed martial arts training and he said, “Hey, man, you should start wrestling.” I started wrestling and I, kind of, mixed the karate with my wrestling. The first show that I ever saw was ‘The Smashing Machine’ with Mark Kerr—that was the first time that I really saw mixed martial arts and I said, “Wow, man—I want to do that.” Basically, all of the training that I’ve done since I was five, six years old was to become a mixed martial arts fighter later on in life.

    This was always what you intended on doing?

    Yeah—that was the idea. I wrestled, did karate, and later on got into kickboxing—to become a better martial artist—and then I got into two professional boxing matches. I started competing in jiu-jitsu regularly. I was training jiu-jitsu under a certain guy—he would teach me once or twice a week—and I would come back to teach it to the guys in our gym. That’s how I learnt it; it was very basic blue belt-stuff in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I did that for a couple years and competed as much as possible. Competition breeds champions, so I competed as often as possible; competing in boxing, jiu-jitsu, open wrestling tournaments—that all really helped me progress. February 7th, 2007 was my first mixed martial arts fight and before that, I had competed in 60 or 70 jiu-jitsu matches and I had some open wrestling tournaments that I did pretty well at. I also wrestled in high-school and I did pretty well in that; I was a two-time 5A state-placer and I had a scholarship offer. I ended up losing my scholarship offer, though, because of Title-9. And I didn’t have enough money to go and wrestle out of state, either. I decided to go to a college—Weber State University—and I started hanging out with a couple of my old friends that used to drink and party. I was pissed off at the world, because I wasn’t wrestling and the school that I was going to didn’t offer wrestling—neither did any other school in Utah—and I started partying and drinking. I got into a wreck and shattered my collarbone and was put on pain narcotics. I started mixing the narcotics and, two years later, I ended up overdosing on heroin. I was damn-near homeless; I had lost everything.

    When you were using drugs, how would you describe your life?

    In the beginning? My dad was a beer-drinker, so when we were out camping, we would sneak into my dad’s cooler and we would take a couple of beers and go drink them. I was really responsible in high-school, though; I got pretty good grades, my attendance was really good, I focused mostly on wrestling, too. I did really well in high-school and during the summers I would work, so I might have a beer or two on the weekends—underage—or we would go to where we have a property and have some beers and get drunk. But I always kept it to a minimum. After high-school was over, I started experimenting with muscle relaxers, Xanax, and other pharmaceutical drugs. Then I started mixing all of that with alcohol and it just got progressively worse from there. I figured I was born an alcoholic and a drug addict; that’s the only thing that explains why I can’t have just one beer or, when I’m prescribed a narcotic, I can’t just take them as prescribed.

    Do you think had you had the opportunity to wrestle in university all of that could’ve been avoided?

    For years, that was a big resentment that I had; “all of this shit would’ve never happened,” I would think. My dream was to be a Division I national qualifier or an All-American; that’s what I wanted to do. I also wanted to study to help people who are suffering from diabetes; I thought that I would be able to help people out that weren’t raised properly, that weren’t taught to eat properly—that’s what I wanted to do. I thought that I could be a dietician on the side and pursue a career in martial arts, but things work out for a reason, man. I tried out a few times for ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ but I didn’t think they would pick me, so it was a huge surprise to be picked for ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ What I did have was a story, though; I had a drug overdose, I was a drug addict, and an alcoholic, I had been in trouble with the law, I had lost all of my material possessions, I had been to jail multiple times—I was facing felony drug charges. I knew I was a good guy, but I just couldn’t show it when I was drinking and using; I couldn’t do shit, man. I had a hard time going to work, I had lost my relationships with my family; all of the people that I was hanging out with were shooting and doing dope. They said that they were your friends, but I don’t know how good of a friend you can be when you’re strung out on heroin [laughs]—other than trying to hook you up with their heroin, I guess. That’s where I ended up; I ended up in a trailer—messed up on numerous drugs—with a cousin of mine.

    Do you reflect on your past a lot?

    Yeah, quite a bit. It’s part of my story, man. The reason why I fight and compete are pretty clear to me. I compete to carry the message of other people that struggle; there’s a way out, so if I can do it, you can do it. I’m no different than anyone—I’m no different than you, man—I’m just a professional mixed martial artist. Number-two; I do it for the pay-out, so I can provide for my family. I can pay for a home, clean water—and everything else, of course—and I can be able to be a family man. I’ve got a wife and two sons, so this allows me to provide for them. I also do it because I love the competition; I enjoy the training, I enjoy coaching people, I enjoy cornering people. I also have very good relationships with me coaches. I have multiple coaches, but my two main coaches are John Hackleman—the owner and the founder of The Pit—and Jason Mertlich—he’s my jiu-jitsu, ground, and conditioning coach—and they’re equal. It’s a big family and I’m very connected with them; I’m very close to John Hackleman and Jason Mertlich, too. I had a coach that didn’t show up for five weeks and I found out that he was taking money from me—and it was very difficult for me to let him go—but I asked Jason if he would take me through his belt system. He’s a black belt in FOUR7 jiu-jitsu—it’s a really unique combat jiu-jitsu system for mixed martial arts. It’s, like, a 10-15 year process and he stood up and took on the challenge, came on as one of my head coaches, and he’s done a fantastic job. We’ve got a really great relationship and he’s a great coach. I’ve also got four or five training partners who are really close friends and I’ve got an active life in recovery. Sober comes first, though; if I can’t stay away from drugs and alcohol, then I can’t have any of this. I was living in a meth lab trailer, using drugs—I couldn’t even hold a job—and now I’m a pro athlete in the UFC and I won ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ I just recently bought a home, I’ve got two vehicles that I’ve paid for, my debt is paid off—and I’m not rich by any means—but I’m comfortable and I’ve got my family. I couldn’t ask for a better life, you know? This life allows me to convey my message and, maybe, help someone with their recovery—you couldn’t ask for more, dude.
    Have you ever had this much stability in your life?

    No. It’s awesome, man. I’ve got things that I get to do today; I get to have breakfast with my sons, I get to go fishing, I get to go on a date with my wife—we try to do that at least once a week. I hang out at the gym a lot and surround myself with good people; I’ve got great stability. I like taking care of my lawn, too [laughs]. It’s pretty sweet to come home to your own house—especially when you’ve been homeless.

    How would you compare your philosophy now to your philosophy when you were using drugs heavily?

    When I was using drugs, all I thought about was where I was going to get my next high; everything came second to drugs. The only thing that I cared about was my next fix, man. Imagine trying to do even the simplest of things—I just couldn’t function—and I lost everything. It’s easy for me to slip back into that mindset, so it’s important for me to stay focused; I’ve got to go to the gym all the time and remain in contact with my coaches. I’ve got to make sure that I stay focused and make sure that I continue to be a dad, a husband, a brother. I’ve also rekindled the relationship with my mother and father and my brother; I was locked out of their house and they came down and had a sleepover at my house, watched my kids, helped me garden—that’s what it’s all about, man.

    Is it ever difficult to stay on this path?

    It is, man; it’s a struggle every day. First, I’ve got to stay sober. If I can do that, though, everything will be okay. As long as I maintain what I’m doing, show up to the gym every day, and take care of my family every day, then everything will be good, man. I have no problems—except it’s pouring rain right now [laughs].
    Court McGee: “I was living in a meth lab trailer, using drugs … now I’m a pro athlete” | QandMMA.com
    And if you want beef, then bring the ruckus

  2. #2
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    I get a little nervous when I hear low tier guys say that they have paid off multiple vehicles, most of them won't be fighting in 5 years .... save your money. For most guys in the UFC, this is a transitory income shock, not permanent income. There are going to be a lot of guys in their mid 30s accustom to living 6 digit lifestyles but working 5 digit jobs.

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    I remember watching his fights in the UCE org, when I lived in Fresno. He clearly stood out amongst most of the talent in that org. he seemed a bit cocky then, like he thought he was a big fish in a small pond, but he clearly has shown he has the talent and commitment to improve. I hope he sticks around for a while. when he's in shape, Court's a good fighter to watch. I'm just glad he doesn't have some horrible nick name, like the Gavel, or the Bailiff, or some other stupid name. although there are many that are worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VimyRidge View Post
    I get a little nervous when I hear low tier guys say that they have paid off multiple vehicles, most of them won't be fighting in 5 years .... save your money. For most guys in the UFC, this is a transitory income shock, not permanent income. There are going to be a lot of guys in their mid 30s accustom to living 6 digit lifestyles but working 5 digit jobs.
    He might still be scared to have to much cash at hand . sometimes just having cash can make a druggie say fuck i can buy a little bag and next thing you know he's back to waking up with a neddle in his arm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mma #1 fan View Post
    He might still be scared to have to much cash at hand . sometimes just having cash can make a druggie say fuck i can buy a little bag and next thing you know he's back to waking up with a neddle in his arm.
    He also could have bought a bungalow and a pair of corollas instead of a pair of mazerattis. He didn't specify.

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    Paying off a house and 2 car loans is never a bad thing assuming they are not Bently's.

    Even if the income drys up in 5 years he has that stuff to fall back on.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudefella View Post
    He also could have bought a bungalow and a pair of corollas instead of a pair of mazerattis. He didn't specify.
    Exactly what I was thinking haha

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