Court fights Robert Whitaker on tonight’s Fight Night 27 main card and earlier this week he shared his compelling story and anti-drug message with the New York Post.
McGee started with alcohol and that escalated to prescription drugs after a surgery. When that wasn’t enough, he began snorting pain pills.
His addiction caused his high school sweetheart, Chelsea, to leave him and he lost his job at an excavating company. His parents kicked him out of their home and father Ron said they even had to put a lock on their bedroom door “so he wouldn’t go snooping around in there.” McGee was in and out of jail on multiple charges.
“I was strung out, the heroin addict, the drunk, the liar, the cheat, the thief,” McGee said. “That’s who I thought I was. I never thought I was going to amount to nothing.”
And that was just the beginning. Instead of turning his life around then, McGee fell into an even darker place. He began using heroin.
“I didn’t have any direction in my life,” McGee said. “I was miserable. Heroin took that pain away. Once I did it, I was hooked. I said this is my friend now. This took care of all my problems.”
Until it nearly ended his life for good. Then the slow recovery process came – and not without relapses. McGee fell back into substance abuse three more times, including five months after the overdose when he had a sip of a Long Island Iced Tea in Las Vegas and the next thing he remembers is waking up four days later in Iowa with no pants on, foraging for crystal meth.
But now McGee has not had a drink or used a drug since April 16, 2006.
After getting clean, the Utah native went back to help coach his old high school wrestling team, then took up Brazilian jiu jitsu and boxing. Before long he was winning pro MMA fights and in 2010 he won the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” reality show.
Chelsea eventually returned and is now his wife. They have two kids together. His family trusts him again and the father who once gave up on him is in Indianapolis for his big fight against Whittaker.
“My job now is to carry the message to people who struggle out there,” McGee said. “My job allows me to do that and it allows me to be a dad. It allows me to be all these things I never thought I could be.”