In an Age of Cinderella Stories and Glorious Returns, Walt Harris’ Just Wasn’t Meant To Be

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Image via Twitter @UFC

Going into his headlining bout against Alistair Overeem, Walt Harris was facing a bit of a Cinderella Story. As he made his return from tragedy, while the betting odds were in his favour, there was always a chance that Overeem would spoil the return.

It’s not like that mattered anyway, a lot of near-impossible stories have happened in sports recently.

Leicester City overcame 5000-1 odds to win the league in one of the most unlikely stories we’ve ever seen. The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup after sitting at the bottom of the league midway through the season. The Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years. The Toronto Raptors brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Canada.

So, no. The idea of Walt Harris prevailing wasn’t far fetched at all. In the sport of MMA, there isn’t such a thing as certainty.

The Walt Harris Story

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Aniah Blanchard, I recommend watching SC Featured: Fighting For Aniah below.

Absolutely heartbreaking. Harris lived through every father’s nightmare, the video brought tears to my eyes.

The Lead-Up to the Fight

Harris was originally scheduled to face Overeem in December. However, this was near the time of the search for Aniah, which meant Harris had to pull out. He was replaced by Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who prevailed against Overeem.

With Harris ready to return, the door opened for the Overeem v Harris bout to be rescheduled. The event was set to take place in April but was re-rescheduled to May amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fight paved the way for a heartwarming return for Walt Harris. Even though Overeem was a favourite to win to some, others felt Harris would pull it off.

Stars Just Didn’t Align

It took a little more than a minute for Harris to quickly take control of the fight. By the 3:50 mark, Harris had Overeem on the ground, just raining in punches. It just continued for over thirty seconds, Overeem trying to survive absolute hell from Harris. He came out with a reminder of what had just happened on his face, covered in blood, and with his lip and eyebrow bleeding.

It could’ve ended right there. To some, it should’ve ended right there, with the ref watching, he 100% could’ve stopped the fight then and there.

But he didn’t.

Overeem quickly regained composure and took Harris down, continuing to ground and pound. He continued to dominate until the round ended.

By the time the second round started, it was clear that Walt Harris was exhausted. Overeem didn’t waste any time to get Harris onto the ground, quickly getting into the same position he was by the end of the first round. Harris had nowhere to go, just eating Overeem’s punches.

In the end, the referee had to stop the fight. Overeem had done what we all feared before and spoiled the return.

Even as Overeem went over and comforted Harris, it was still heartbreaking to watch. After all Harris had been through, it just didn’t go his way.

In sports, as tough as it is, sometimes, it just isn’t meant to be.


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