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Who is Zion Clark? Wrestler born without legs wins pro MMA debut against able-bodied opponent

Clark’s incredible journey to athletic success was showcased in the Netflix documentary 'Zion,' which tells the inspirational story of the Ohio native
Zion Clark who was born without legs won his first MMA fight against Eugene Murray (@bigz97/Instagram and @Sportsville/Twitter)
Zion Clark who was born without legs won his first MMA fight against Eugene Murray (@bigz97/Instagram and @Sportsville/Twitter)

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: Zion Clark, an MMA fighter born without legs, won his first fight at the Gladiator Challenge in San Diego by unanimous decision. The 25-year-old from Ohio made headlines earlier this week when he announced his goal to compete in the UFC, and he's off to a great start.

Clark defeated Eugene Murray several times in their PPV fight on the evening of December 17 in California, although Murray was a bigger man than him. The judge raised Clark's arm in the octagon after the fight had completed its three rounds and a unanimous decision had been taken. An elated Clark did a backflip back to his corner after learning the judges' verdict, thrilling onlookers.


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Clark was born with caudal regression syndrome, a rare condition that prevents development of the lower body. Despite this, he has managed to take part and compete in a variety of sports, and he is currently focusing on a future in MMA. "I'm exceptional because I have a drive and I live by the mantra 'no excuses' and I push myself forward every day. 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," Clark said in a recent interview with Fox LA.


Growing up in foster care brought many challenges into the remarkable athlete's life, but he persevered to become an exceptional high school wrestler and now aspires to compete in wheelchair racing at the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, Daily Mail reports. "People would make fun of me because I didn't have legs, "he said. "The best way to deal with haters is to use the hate to lift yourself up. The haters are your biggest fans – use that to your advantage. School wasn't the greatest time for me, but by the time I was a senior I was able to turn it around and get into college and do everything I wanted to do."


He also expressed a desire to enter into a contract with the UFC, one of the major sporting organizations. The athlete was motivated to compete in the UFC after Hasbulla Magomedov an internet sensation, joined the organization in October. 


"It's the same as it was wrestling for me. I just wrestle against able-bodied people, and I beat able-bodied people," he told TMZ about competiting as a MMA fighter. "Now I'm fighting able-bodied people, and I'm gonna knock out able-bodied people. It's as simple as that. I'm a fighter."

Clarke has been treating his venture into MMA very seriously by hiring former UFC fighters like Anderson Silva, Mike Perry, and Rampage Jackson as his trainers. Eugene Murray, who was his opponent, has lost all four of his fights and failed to pick up his first win this past weekend.


On February 15, 2021, Clarke accomplished the feat of walking 20 meters on his hands in in 4.78 seconds to become the fastest man in the world to do it. He also set the Guinness world record for the most number of diamond pushups and highest box jump with hands, according to Firstpost.