While the MMA world is no doubt breathlessly awaiting Conor McGregor’s return, there are plenty of fights and interesting characters to watch out for at UFC 257.
Maybe no more than Khalil Rountree Jr, who faces Marcin Prachnio in the night’s opener at the Etihad Arena.
While the light heavyweight fight may not provide as much excitement as the main event or co-main event, Rountree may even be lucky to be in the UFC.
“The Work Horse” isn’t just a nickname for Rountree, who slept at 19 as a fast food and junk food addict and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.
Even as a 305-pound teenager, he wasn’t sure he would ever wake up.
“I was completely in a mess,” Rountree told Yahoo Sports. “I haven’t eaten any vegetables at all.
“I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day in addition to gorging on fast food. Every day I drank a liter or two of Dr. Pepper. I was not doing anything good for my health.
“I felt I was going to die in my sleep. It’s really weird when you have a 19 year old who thinks he might never wake up after he falls asleep, but that’s where I was.
His spiral of excessive food and drink consumption did not arise out of indolence or sheer gluttony – the murder of his father at the age of two undoubtedly played a significant role.
Roderick Rountree was the road director of the multi-Grammy Award winning group Boyz II Men, which was tragically murdered in May 1992 after being shot several times in the head.
Although Khalil doesn’t remember much of his father, the pain of losing a loved one undoubtedly had an effect on the young introvert.
However, when he started watching “ The Ultimate Fighter ” he convinced himself that this was his life goal and set about changing his life.
“I used to travel with bands and sell their products on tour,” he told the BBC MMA Show. “I wasn’t really chasing my dream.
“I was just trying to help someone chase theirs away. I always thought I had more in me than selling clothes and packing the van.
He continues: “The way I fought was that my brother was training in MMA, and he had wanted to introduce me to his new hobby, so I joined the gym with him because at the back then I weighed 300 pounds. .
“So I just joined the gym and found out I had a hidden love for fighting and a love for training and it happened by accident – just because I wanted to lose a few pounds.
Rountree is 8-4 in his MMA career and suffered a loss to Ion Cutelaba in his last outing in September 2019.
After putting on some weight for UFC 257, “ The Work Horse ” is once again ready and eager to put on a show.