Zion Clark — born without legs because of a rare birth defect known as Cadual Regression Syndrome — continues to defy the odds.
This weekend (Sat., Dec. 17, 2022), California-based regional mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, Gladiator Challenge, will host Clark’s professional debut when he squares off against Eugene Murray (0-4). A specific weight class hasn’t been specified for the bout, but Murray has fought in the Bantamweight division in all four of his pro appearances.
“I’m not exceptional because I don’t have legs and I’m an athlete,” Clark told Fox 11 Los Angeles. “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, 25, has risen to fame for his inspiring story, competing and participating in numerous sports. A high school track star, the Ohio native holds multiple Guinness World Records, including the fastest 20 meters ran on two hands, the highest box jump using just hands (33 inches), and most diamond push-ups (248 in under three minutes). Clark provides motivational speeches across the nation and has taken up the hobbies of skateboarding, climbing, football and playing the drums.
MMA won’t be Clark’s first foray into combat sports, however. While in elementary school, Clark was introduced to wrestling. Clark went 33-15 as a senior in high school, nearly making the state championship before he went to Kent State to continue his wrestling career.
One of Clark’s current goals along with finding success in MMA is to wrestle in the 2024 Olympics and compete in the Paralympics in wheelchair racing.
“It’s the same as it was wrestling for me,” Clark told TMZ in Nov. 2022. “I just wrestle against able-bodied people, and I beat able-bodied people. 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.”