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Photo by Ernie Sapiro Photography

MCKINNEY EXCITED TO EVENTUALLY RETURN TO MMA

It had been 15 minutes since Terrance McKinney broke both lower bones in his right leg.

Visually for the sold out crowd at the Emerald Queen Casino, it was horrific to watch as the upper portion of his leg from mid-shin up remained straight, while the bottom portion buckled as he put pressure on it, forcing it to briefly go parallel to the mat.

It was immediately obvious that this was a devastating break. Most of us would have stopped the moment it occurred, collapsing under the intense pain.

McKinney kept fighting.

The man known as T.Wrecks, one of the most highly touted MMA prospects in North America, now laying on a gurney, had yet to show any signs of discomfort. In fact, on several occasions his bright, infectious smile would appear.

The first question he asked the EMTs while he was being loaded into the ambulance wasn’t about the condition of his broken tibia and fibula.

He simply wanted to know when he could fight again.

“That’s all he wanted to know. ‘When will I be able to fight again?’” CageSport CEO and promoter Brian Halquist said. “Terrance is a warrior and nothing proves that more than what I saw when they were getting him into the ambulance. That’s instinct and heart. That’s passion. You can’t coach that.”

McKinney suffered the injury during the early stages of the first round in his bout against Tyrone Henderson on July 21 at CageSport 52 in Tacoma. The Spokane native entered the MMA contest a perfect 4-0.

The fight was waved off the moment the referee saw the severity of McKinney’s injury.

Surgery followed during which McKinney had a metal rod inserted into his leg to keep bones in place from the knee down.

“It was a clean break of both bones,” McKinney said. “There was no nerve damage or muscle damage luckily. I’m feeling blessed. (I’m) just happy to be able to continue to do what I love.”

McKinney has received the answer to the question he asked outside the ambulance. He was told he would be out six to eight months – although in typical McKinney fashion he is eyeing the former as his goal.

“I’m taking my recovery time seriously. (I’ll do) a lot of resting for the next two weeks and start my physical therapy,” McKinney said. “I’m looking to be back active within six months. (I’m) taking my diet seriously, getting the nutrients I need to come back stronger and healthier. I don’t want to rush back. I want to be able to come back like I never left.”

McKinney knew right away that he broke his leg, but it never entered his mind to stop.

“I remember feeling great. I was really controlling the pace and range, landing kicks and my right hand. When I went for my second inside leg kick, instantly I knew it was broken,” McKinney said. “I was thinking if I can take him down I could still pull this win off because my ground game is one of my big strengths.”

Fortunately, despite McKinney’s valiant desires to continue, the right decision was made to halt the fight, preventing any further damage.

McKinney, a 2013 graduate of Shadle Park High School where he won back-to-back state wrestling titles during his junior and senior years, made his professional MMA debut at CageSport 47 on Oct. 14, 2017 – winning by first-round rear-naked choke (2:15).

Three more victories followed, including a triumph over Brandon Todd, whom he put away with a heel hook early in the third round at CageSport 50 on April 28.

“I love this sport because it makes me feel like a gladiator and the feeling I get out there is indescribable,” McKinney said. “I love that one-on-one action. No team. Two people fighting for what they dream of.”

McKinney, who also wrestled collegiately at North Idaho and was the nation’s top-ranked 141-pounder as a freshman and the No. 2 ranked 149-pounder as a redshirt sophomore, was inspired to become an MMA fighter after watching current teammate Michael Chiesa compete in the UFC’s reality competition, The Ultimate Fighter.

“He showed how all his emotion and hard work was paying off,” McKinney said. “It was beautiful to watch and I wanted that feeling.”

McKinney trains at Sik-Jitsu, which is also the home to UFC fighters Chiesa, Sam Silica, Austin Arnett and Julianna Pena, among other notable fighters.

“My teammates and training partners, Sam Silica, Tyler McGuire, Daniel Spitz, Austin Arnett, Mike Chiesa, and Rick Little all have been like family to me, helping push me to another level each day at Sik-Jitsu, which is one of the best gyms in Washington, in my opinion,” said McKinney, whose day job sees him working for Crown Construction in Spokane. “The community shows me love. They stay by my side and tell me I’m going to go far in this, which makes me motivated to prove them right. I’m addicted to this sport. I live and die for MMA.”

As for his mindset moving forward following such a significant injury?

“This makes me want to come back harder, because one loss can be a fluke. Two or three losses shows you’re beatable and I refuse to let that be possible,” McKinney said. “I will be in the UFC. It might take six months longer, but it will be done.”

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CONTINUES ACCEPTANCE AND INCLUSION PROGRAM

On Tuesday, July 31, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) and MiLB Charities, together with Allegiant, announced that August will be designated ‘CommUNITY Month,’ presented by Allegiant, across the entire league. For the third consecutive year, the program will promote unity, understanding, acceptance and inclusion in MiLB ballparks and extend into its communities. Minor League Baseball created the MiLB CommUNITY initiative in 2016 in response to a collection of tragedies and tension that developed in communities across the country. Minor League Baseball parks are a place for fans to come together in a safe and enjoyable environment, providing a break from the stresses of today’s society. The MiLB CommUNITY initiative aims to go beyond activations in its ballparks and urges fans to take positive action and promote a sense of unity within their communities.

“For the past three years, we have chosen August as ‘MiLB CommUNITY’ Month, but it is important that our teams, fans and partners extend these efforts in their communities throughout the year,” said Courtney Nehls, assistant director of community engagement for Minor League Baseball. “We hope that as fans come into our ballparks to experience a game, they always feel welcome and accepted, and leave wanting to spread those feelings to their friends, family and neighbors for the betterment of the cities and towns where they live.”

As part of this year’s initiative, staff from participating MiLB teams will volunteer with local organizations that make a difference in their respective communities, and players will also be encouraged to make appearances in their communities and participate in local volunteer events. The Lexington Legends, winner of the 2017 John Henry Moss Community Service Award, engage their community and the entire Central Kentucky region through community service, their charitable foundation and outreach programs. The award recognizes a club that demonstrates an outstanding, on-going commitment to charitable service, support and leadership within their local community and within the baseball industry.

“The Legends are thrilled to be a part of the CommUNITY initiative again this season,” said Andy Shea, Lexington president and CEO. “Community involvement is an integral part of the Legends’ core values, and teaming up with Minor League Baseball through this important program enables us to impact even more members of the Bluegrass.”

In addition to volunteer efforts in MiLB communities, at home games in August, teams will feature public address announcements, in-game promotions and photo opportunities for fans to show what CommUNITY means to them. Allegiant will also provide all participating teams with flight vouchers to use in support of the initiative’s mission. Fans can take part in the MiLB CommUNITY Month initiative on social media by using #MiLBCommUNITY.

TACOMA/PIERCE COUNTY VOLLEYBALL OFFICIALS NEEDED

The Tacoma-Pierce County Volleyball Officials Board is in need of individuals who are interested in officiating middle school, junior high, senior high, college, and recreation department volleyball matches throughout Pierce County. Line judges are also needed for local high school matches. A comprehensive training program scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 21, Sunday, Aug. 26 and Monday, Aug. 27, is offered for all new officials and the opportunities to advance in the organization are extensive.

For students, retirees or former athletes looking to re-connect with a sport, officiating high school and middle school sports is also an excellent way to earn some extra income and provide a great service to the teams. Registration is due no later than Thursday, Aug. 9, so please contact us immediately.

For additional information on becoming a volleyball official, please visit our website attpcvob.com and contact Marc Blau at (253) 677-2872 or mhblau@comcast.net.

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