Mixed martial artist says sports and his mother saved his life

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Ian Butler is a mixed martial artist who’s beating opponents and beating the odds. While Butler has impressive stats, the native St. Louisan biggest victory may be what he had to overcome.

That includes his road to the ring, which was paved with poverty, homelessness, drugs and even his own death.

But it wasn't fun growing up for Ian; he never knew his father and lived on the streets of San Diego with his mother.

Katie`s open adoption of Ian opened his world to sports. She taught him his past didn't have to define his path.

Ian's biological mother eventually did get off the streets through the help of the Salvation Army.  She and Ian moved to St. Louis, but at Ritenour High School Ian fell in with the wrong crowd and started doing drugs, almost overdosing on pills.

But It wasn’t Ian's time.  His vision was clear from then on.  He wrestled at Lindenwood University, and now at 25 is a professional fighter with a 57-3 record.  Saturday he competes for a championship in New York.  He says the sport gave him a fighting chance.

Sadly Ian’s adopted mom Katie recently died.  She had been battling cancer and her heart gave out from radiation.  So Ian fight's with a heavy heart, hoping to win that championship for her this weekend.