Friday, June 18, 2010 | 3 p.m.
The story sounds so preposterous that you almost don't believe it.
But to hear Court McGee rehash his relapse into the world of drugs and alcohol during an April 2006 trip to Las Vegas, an adventure that led to him waking up four days later in Iowa, it's easy to see where his motivation comes from in preparing to fight for a UFC contract Saturday night in the season final of The Ultimate Fighter 11.
"From where I was at four years ago to where I'm at today, there's no words to describe it," he said during Thursday's open workouts. "I feel like I earned my spot, I was given an opportunity, and I took full advantage of it."
All that stands in the way of McGee and a series of regular UFC paydays is Kris McCray, who set a show record by fighting five times during the 11-episode season.
McGee has endured a lengthy training camp split between San Luis Obispo, Calif., training alongside Chuck Liddell during his preparation for last weekend's bout with Rich Franklin at UFC 115, and his current hometown of Orem, Utah.
McGee admits that without that low point in 2006 he wouldn't be here today. A month after that fateful bender, he got a job as a commercial plumber, began working as an assistant wrestling coach near his hometown of Layton, Utah, and training for the next phase of his life.
He said he hasn't touched drugs or alcohol since, either.
"I had a dream when I was a young man that I wanted to be a professional fighter," he said. "I knew I was destined to do something, and after I straightened my life out, that was it."
What's enriched his life since are the rebuilt relationships with his family, friends and girlfriend, with whom he has one son and another on the way.
He humbly lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Orem and the family shares a car that he uses an expletive to describe. But McGee says those are the things he has come to appreciate after seeing the depths of addiction — the little things.
Therefore, he'll hardly consider himself a failure if he doesn't come out on top against McCray.
He just knows he'll savor the experience.
"That's the fun part, is I get to figure out how to beat him," he said. "I get to out-work him. That's the only thing that's hard to explain. That's the enjoyment that I have."