Drew is afflicted with Crohn's disease and has spoken in many interviews about his struggle with the disorder. It has not stopped him from competing in mixed martial arts, but he does believe it has a large effect on his athletic ability. McFedries won his match last Friday (Drew McFedries threw 14 punches in his middleweight bout at UFC 98 against Xavier Foupa-Pokam.
His second punch -- a massive right hook -- was the only one McFedries needed. It took all of 37 seconds for McFedries to secure the TKO over Foupa-Pokam, who threw all of zero punches, kicks, knees, etc "I come in ready to throw down," McFedries said. )
McFedries’ influence extends far beyond fight fans and kids looking for inspiration though, and what he takes pride in is showing people with Crohn’s disease (a painful disease which attacks the intestinal tract) that you can live a normal life.
“I’ve come to the realization that pain is just part of your day,” he says simply. “Sometimes there are some embarrassing moments, but you learn to deal with it and you move on. You wake up some days and you have no energy and you definitely don’t want to move around. You don’t want to do anything, and you’re forced to train three or four more hours. Some days can be brutal for me, but other days, I’m on all cylinders man; I’m more than electric, that’s for sure.”
You sort of wonder where McFedries would be in his career right now if not for the disease, which sidelined him for over three years from 2003 to 2006. In some bizarre way, he believes it has mellowed him out and made him a more responsible and professional athlete.
“My chron's disease was a crutch because I was forced to take three years off,” he said. “I did train in that time, but I couldn’t really do much of anything because of my energy level. I’d get into the gym once a week or maybe three times a week, but that was about it. But when I got through the barrier of that, and getting the right medications and things, it changed my perspective on the fight game. I used to be a guy who could go out party until three, four in the morning, pass out, get up at eight, be at the gym at nine, train from nine to noon, take a nap, go party again, and I could do that day in and day out. We used to have so much fun, but that came to a screeching halt with the Crohn’s disease, and I think it put things in perspective. Back when I was a younger guy, I really didn’t respect or value my life. I took my body for a roller coaster ride, and what happened to me has really calmed me.”
So at 30, with the past experience that could fill volumes, Drew McFedries may be right on time to become MMA’s unlikeliest hero as he starts making some noise in the middleweight division. At the very least, he certainly has some tricks up his sleeve for the new generation of mixed martial artists.