by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
To say it’s been a long, hard road out of hell for Court McGee would be a massive understatement.
Battling through heroin addiction, and literally standing on death’s doorstep, McGee willed himself back to life, and now after defeating Kris McCray on Saturday night he is the “Ultimate Fighter” season 11 champion.
Both McGee and McCray showed tremendous heart to suffer losses during the season, only to get a second chance on the reality show and they made it to the finale where they met in the center of the Octagon. Training out of Gold Medal Grappling under Lloyd Irvin, Kris McCray had shown great takedowns and ground work during his time on the show, but it was McGee who simply bulled his way to takedown after takedown on Saturday.
McGee’s superior wrestling and clinch work landed him in top position over and over again, working at McCray’s guard, while staying patient to let the door open up to walk through. Admitting after the fight that the gameplan was to actually stick and move while throwing punches and avoid McCray’s takedowns, McGee said something opened up that just screamed for him to take it to the ground.
“The shot was open and I took it,” McGee commented. “Sometimes you just feel it when you’re in the cage, and I felt it.”
The second round yielded much of the same as the first with McGee taking McCray down, and just overmatching him on the ground. As McCray tried to scramble and get out from under McGee, he gave up his neck and was soon in a very precarious position.
McGee quickly locked in his forearm under McCray’s chin, and sunk in the rear naked choke, forcing the Virginia based fighter to tap out.
Following the win, Court McGee was handed the trophy as the “Ultimate Fighter” champion, as well as the six-figure contract with the UFC. An emotional McGee spoke to the crowd after the fight, fighting to hold back the tears after the biggest win of his MMA career.
“Amazing,” McGee said when asked how it felt to win the show. “I want to dedicate this fight to anybody who’s struggling today. I love you all.”
As the emotion washed over him, McGee also dedicated the fight to his coach and friend Chuck Liddell, who helped him prepare during the show, but also during his training camp for this fight. Possibly one of the most inspirational figures to ever step foot in the Octagon, now Court McGee is also the “Ultimate Fighter.”