Evans native named Ultimate Fighting Champion

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, July 6, 2008

AUGUSTA, GA---Forrest Griffin's friends and family are re-watching the fight that made him a star Saturday night. "We just were standing there throwing punches and moving and I mean, I could have been in the ring with him," says his mother Kathryn Danielson.

"There was no doubt he was gonna win," says Griffin's friend Lucas Rakofsky. "I knew he'd win, but I was still really nervous because with mixed martial arts you can never predict anything," says his stepfather Byron Danielson.

Forrest helped to make Ultimate Fighting more mainstream when he won Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter back in 2005. News 12 was there when he watched the premiere of his show in January of 2005, and again months later when he won the live finale.

"It's the truest of sports, you know, and it was the first sport there ever was," said Forrest in 2005. Forrest's brother, Lief was also along back in 2005. "He gave me about five-thousand t-shirts." Flash forward to today. "Does he bring you anything cooler now, or is it still just t-shirts?" Katie asks. "Still t-shirts," answers Lief.

Forrest graduated from Evans High School in 1997. There he played football. His family and friends say his drive and determination got him where he is today.

"In football up at Evans, he was usually the first one on the field and the last one off," says Kathy. "He set his goal for something and he wasn't going to be denied it," says friend Matt Crunk.

Kathy talked to Forrest late Saturday night, just as he was getting stitches at the emergency room. She said he was pretty shocked himself.

"It happened Mom, that's it. I did it. And he was very very happy," said his mother, Kathy proudly.

We would like to credit Zuffa, LLC for the use of the Ultimate Fighting Championship footage from July 5th.
We would also like credit Spike TV for the use of The Ultimate Fighter footage from January and May 2005.

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