CHICAGO — Among Mike Russow’s early assignments as a young police officer was to work the mundane United Center detail for a Chicago Bulls game.
Not much happened that night, but he refers to the experience as "pretty cool."
Russow will face much more attention when he returns to work at the arena on Saturday night.
The 35-year-old, still a full-time patrol officer for the Chicago Police Department, will fight John-Olav Einemo on the undercard of the UFC on Fox 2 card.
"When I’m back there warming up in the locker room, I think it will kind of, like, just hit me," Russow said of fighting in front of the same people he’s charged with protecting and serving each day.
"I mostly go call to call dealing with domestics, shots-fired disturbances — just the normal citizen complaints," he explained. "It’s the greatest show on earth, especially working in Chicago on the South Side. The things you see people do you wouldn’t believe. You see crazy stuff all the time."
Russow wisely chose against elaborating. He doesn’t want to jeopardize his job on the force even though his preference would be to fight for a living.
"I’m 35. I’m just not in a position to do that," he said. "I have a baby and a mortgage."
Russow, 3-0 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, last competed when he stopped Jon Madsen in the second round of a March bout.
He said he burned up his last month of vacation to go through a somewhat normal training camp for this fight.
"I had a chance to do a real camp where I could train good and eat good," he said. "I love it."
Russow conceded there is a downside that comes with this opportunity.
"It’s kind of a double-edged sword fighting in your hometown. You’re excited. You don’t have to travel," he said. "(But) you have all your friends and family there, so there is a little added pressure.
"You don’t want to let everybody down."
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.