SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. - An Ohio man is gearing up for his first professional mixed martial arts bout this coming weekend near San Diego. For 25-year-old Zion Clark, it's just the latest example of how he has used the sport to help him overcome hardships throughout his life.
Clark sports a large tattoo across his back that reads "no excuses," despite his life having handed him plenty of potential excuses. Clark was born without legs. But despite that, has been able to reach the top of his sport. Training for his upcoming fight is daunting, but every day Clark proves what an extraordinary competitor he is.
"I'm not exceptional because I don't have legs and I'm an athlete," Clark said, "I'm exceptional because I have a drive and I live by the mantra ‘No excuses’ and I push myself forward every day."
He pushed himself to nearly making the state high school championships as a wrestler in Ohio. Then he broke a Guinness World Record for the fastest 20 meters on two hands. Clark skateboards, climbs and plays the drums. And he also tells his story as a motivational speaker.
Clark faced a life of abandonment, neglect, abuse and bullying, but his life was turned around when he met the woman who would foster and eventually adopt him.
"She gave me a stable home foundation finally," Clark said of his adoptive mother. "And from then I was able to have just some piece of mind."
Clark is scheduled to fight Eugene Murray in his first professional bout on Dec. 17 in North County San Diego.
"This is the start of another professional career for me and I'm here to rip his throat out and put on a show for the crowd."