01 Jan Walt Harris releases statement on UFC on ESPN 8 loss, will ‘keep pushing’ for Aniah Blanchard
UFC heavyweight Walt Harris released a statement in the wake of his emotional loss at UFC on ESPN 8, vowing to “keep pushing” in memory of his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard.
Harris was stopped by Alistair Overeem in the second round of Saturday’s headliner, seven months after Blanchard was murdered. The UFC’s broadcast partner ran a feature on Harris and his return to the sport after the tragedy, and Harris thanked the UFC and fans for their support as he fought back tears post-loss.
In his statement, Harris posted a picture of Overeem embracing him after the fight. He vowed to soldier on and paid tribute to Blanchard.
First let me thank @alistairovereem for sharing the octagon we me tonight… You’re a class act brother and a legend! Tonight wasn’t my night, but you best believe I will be back better! Thank to everyone for all your love and support can’t say it enough! We learn and grow! Baby girl… daddy loves you and I promise I will keep pushing! #ForeverAniah
The heavyweight bout was originally scheduled to take place at UFC Portland, but the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled as the closer of a trio of events held at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena this past week.
Harris had won three of his previous four fights heading into Saturday’s event and now goes back to the drawing board, while Overeem rebounds after a brutal knockout loss.