‘We’ve come a long way’: Shadle Park grad overcomes arrest, drug addiction to make UFC debut Saturday

SPOKANE, Wash. — Every success story comes with some kind of adversity. For some, that’s taking advantage of second chances—a second chance at an opportunity, and a second chance at life.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Kitara Johnson.

Kitara is the mother of Terrance McKinney, the man who is about to represent Spokane on that national stage in his UFC debut. It’s a special feat as is, but it’s even more special when you realize what McKinney has overcome.

He hasn’t just overcome some mistakes. He’s overcome death — twice.

Paramedics saved McKinney in a case of excited delirium while he was high on drugs and getting arrested by Spokane Police.

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He pleaded with them and they tried to work with him to settle him down. McKinney ended up getting tased and was medically dead until paramedics brought him back.

“It’s not the wins that you learn from, it’s your mistakes,” Johnson said.

Having served in the Army, Kitara Johnson instilled that mentality into her family; a family with five kids. Terrance is the oldest, born when she was just 16 years old.

They overcame poverty, and McKinney overcame a drug addiction that started in college.

“Recovery is a journey,” Kitara said. “He’s been up and he’s been down, but he’s never given up.”

Now, his life long dreams are right in front of him.

“His whole goal was ‘Mom, I’m going to get us out of this situation, we’re gonna get out of poverty… Mom, one day I’m gonna buy you a house,’ and I’m just like ‘Okay, boy, I’m going to hold you to that,'” Johnson said.

Now, Kitara gets to watch her oldest son and best friend make his UFC debut on the national stage Saturday night.

“I’m praying in the morning, I’m praying in the night, my heart is beating,” Kitara said.

These MMA fighters usually need months to prepare for a fight, but Terrance was just in an amateur fight June 4. He knocked that guy out and now faces a guy known as the Steam Roller.

“He gets to meet the Steam Roller, and the Steam Roller gets to meet ‘T-Wrecks,'” Terrance said.

T-Wrecks is considered an underdog in this fight—something Terrance McKinney is quite familiar with.

“He’s fighting for all the kids that have made the same mistakes with drugs, he’s fighting to let them know you can fight for your recovery and it’s something you got to do every day,” Kitara said.