I think going into the UFC Fight Night main event tonight, just about everybody who knew Walt Harris' story was rooting for him.
For those that are unaware, this was Harris' return to the octagon after tragedy struck his family last year, when his 19-year-old step-daughter Aniah Blanchard went missing and was later found to be murdered in Auburn, Alabama. I can't even put into words how horrible a story it is - it makes my stomach curl just thinking about it - but this feature on the resilience of Walt Harris through everything is a must watch if you're interested in hearing more...
Unfortunately, Walt Harris did not pick up the win in the octagon tonight - despite delivering a flurry of strikes in the first round that probably would've put out anyone who wasn't a genetic freak like The Reem....
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem was able to land a head-kick and a left cross early on into the second round that put Harris onto the canvas, though, and then he delivered enough ground-and-pound for the stoppage….
It was pretty heartbreaking to watch in those final few moments - for obvious reasons - but Big Dan Miragliotta really did give Walt every last opportunity to get up/defend himself. Tonight just wasn't his night. MMA is an unforgiving game.
The Reem then embraced Harris, and told him that they should train together sometime, and Harris was given the floor….
I said this on Twitter, but I really do feel that all anybody will remember about this fight is the strength that Harris displayed in just stepping back into the cage. I don't know how you can't admire that man on a human level.
That loss is nothing to hang your hat on, Walt Harris! Can't wait to see you back in the cage.
P.S. Unrelated to the main event, but rough judges tonight, huh? Yikes!