When Dresden native and professional mixed martial arts fighter Mike King is in the octagon, Muskingum County is on his shoulders.
"To see the type of support that I get here is kind of fuel to get out of bed every day and continue moving forward," King said.
The UFC middleweight is grateful for the support, so he’s giving back. King held a meet-and-greet at The Barn on Saturday and gave all proceeds from T-shirt sales to charity.
"To be able to come back and sell shirts and make money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, I want to do that," he said. "If I can give back in any way, I’ll do that."
Despite losing his UFC debut, the former Scottie caught the eye of president Dana White, who awarded King with a handsome $50,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus.
"I don’t fight to not lose; I fight to entertain fans," King said. "I’m going to go out there and fight the same way every time, and Dana loves that."
The 30-year-old’s career is taking off, and he hopes to inspire the youth from the region to follow in his footsteps.
"Something that I’m thinking about doing in the future is opening up a gym here in town and having my own guys teach," he said. "I do feel like being from a blue-collar area like this, there (are) a lot of fighters, but they’re just not able to express themselves."
The sky is the limit for King, but his roots will always lie here in Muskingum County.