Local fighter follows dream - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Local fighter follows dream

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BECKLEY -

Chris McKinney didn't always dream about being a fighter, but once he was introduced to Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, that's all he's thought about.

"I wrestled for a long time and then after high school wrestling if you didn't go to college there really wasn't anything, so I came across Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and fell in love with it immediately and couldn't quit," said McKinney.

He didn't quit, thanks to his instructor Bryan Atterson, whose encouragement put Chris on the right path.

"Sometimes it took me going to pick him up and dragging him out of the house making sure he came to practice but I stayed on him and he eventually came across that hurdle that he fell in love with the sport and now I can't get rid of him," Atterson recalled.

McKinney was always grateful for his support.  "We met when I was a trouble maker on the street and he kind of drew me in here and once I came in he took me under his wing and it's been a great relationship. Bryan's been my best friend and my coach and I respect him more than most men."

Though Chris has already won many fights, he's ready to continue on his journey to be a better fighter.  He quit his job as a server and is moving to Ohio for more training.

His ultimate goal is to be a UFC fighter and with his drive, Bryan is confident Chris will go far.

"That's what makes the difference between a true champion and someone who does this for a hobby or whatever reason. You have to have a hunger."

That hunger will keep Chris in the ring as he continues to follow his dream.