"I want to be able to tell a story with my life" - Khalil Rountree Jr. delivers powerful message on mental health following UFC Fight Night win

Khalil Rountree Jr. opens up on struggle with mental health [Credit: UFC via YouTube]
Khalil Rountree Jr. opens up on struggle with mental health [Credit: UFC via YouTube]

Not everyone with an inspiring life story gets to share it with the world. Khalil Rountree Jr. wants to make sure he is not one of those people.

In one of his most dominant displays to date, Khalil Rountree Jr. went through Karl Roberson on the main card of UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev on Saturday night. The official stoppage came at the 0:25 mark of the second round after Rountree Jr. dropped Roberson early on with a body kick and followed up with a flurry of ground-and-pound.

Watch the knockout below:

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This was Rountree Jr.'s second win in a row after losing twice back-to-back. Before that, he even announced his retirement from the sport but decided not to hang up his fighting gloves.

While speaking to Paul Felder following the victory, Rountree Jr. delivered an emotional and powerful message. The 32-year-old spoke about his journey from a young man who was overweight and struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues to becoming a UFC light heavyweight fighter.

Khalil Rountree Jr. said:

"This month marks 12 years that I've been fighting MMA. I don't want to wait until I'm a champion to be able to tell my story on where I come from - being a 300-pound kid on the bring of suicide, burdened by depression, not knowing what to do with my life, not knowing where to go. I just want to be able to share that and inspire people - the millions of people that feel just like I do, that don't have a dream, that don't know what they're doing, they just need something. I wanna be able to share my story with these type of people, because maybe there are some lives that I can change... I want to be able to tell a story with my life."

'The War Horse' went on to say that he was actively making connections and looking for endorsements to hire a publisher or an author to help him share his story.

Watch the full post-fight octagon interview below:

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Khalil Rountree Jr. opens up on his struggles in press conference

Khalil Rountree Jr. said in his octagon interview that he used to weigh 300-pounds-plus, was a junk food and cigarette addict and had suicidal thoughts as a 19-year-old. In a 2018 interview with Yahoo! Sports, he revealed that losing his father at the age of two is possibly what led to his downward spiral into an unhealthy lifestyle.

He got his first taste of mixed martial arts when his brother introduced him to the sport and took him to a Muay Thai class. The rest, as we know, is history.

Although Khalil Rountree Jr. has long left that life behind, he believes that recovering and motivating others to do the same is an ongoing process:

"300 pounds with not a hope or dream or dollar in my pocket step into an MMA gym to try to change my life and every time I'm in here, that's still a growth. It's not like I've just surpassed that person. Every single day, I have to wake up to that person. Every single day I have to fight that person... I still have demons, I still have doubts."

Watch Khalil Rountree Jr.'s press conference below:

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Edited by Saiyed Adeem Karim
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