ZION CLARK – who was born without a lower body – made mixed martial arts history by beating an able-bodied opponent in his debut.
The former college wrestler – who was born without lower limbs due to a rare birth disorder – locked horns with Eugene Murray at Gladiator Challenge: Seasons Beatings in San Diego on Saturday night.
GLADIATOR CHALLENGEZion Clark – who was born with no legs – made his pro MMA debut on Saturday night[/caption]
@SPORTSVILLEClark wasn’t deterred by the size of the challenge on his hands and went straight at his opponent[/caption]
@SPORTSVILLEThe 25-year-old took down his foe at will on his way to earning a decision victory[/caption]
INSTAGRAM@CRAIGLEVINSONClark was the picture of happiness as he had his hand raised[/caption]
MMA fans were initially sceptical of the match-up but were left hailing Clark’s performance after he scored a unanimous decision victory.
Despite being at an unprecedented disadvantage Clark, 25, used his wrestling to take down Murray and grind him out for three rounds.
His takedowns were met with roars of delight from the crowd, which was filled with his friends and loved ones.
But the biggest cheer of the night came when Clark had his hand raised and performed numerous backflips in celebration.
MMA fans were quick to comment on the inspirational moment, with one saying: “Respect.
Another said: “A true inspiration.”
And another said: “This is truly amazing.”
Clark was born with a lower body due to caudal regression syndrome, a disorder which impedes the development of the lower spine.
But he hasn’t let his ailment stop him from competing in multiple sports and has ambitions of competing in the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He said: “People would make fun of me because I didn’t have legs.
“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.”
Clark – who holds the world record for the fastest 20m walk on hands – doesn’t plan to be one and done in MMA.
ZION CLARKZion Clark doesn’t plan to be one and done in mixed martial arts[/caption]
He told TMZ: “It’s the same as it was wrestling for me. 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.”