UFC heavyweight Walt Harris will take to the Octagon on Saturday night for the first time since the tragic death of his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard.
Harris (13-7 MMA) is set to battle former UFC heavyweight title challenger Alistair Overeem in tomorrow night’s UFC on ESPN 8 event in Jacksonville.
‘The Big Ticket’ will enter tomorrow’s clash with ‘The Reem’ on a three-fight win streak, his latest being a sensational 12-second knockout of Aleksei Oleinik at July’s UFC Fight Night event in San Antonio.
Two months following his emphatic win over ‘The Boa Constrictor’, news surfaced that the stepdaughter of Walt Harris, Aniah Blanchard, had gone missing. After an exhausting search effort and investigation, Blanchard’s remains were identified on November 27, 2019.
A police autopsy later confirmed that she had died from a gun shot wound. Ibraheem Yazeed was arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Aniah Blanchard and now faces capital murder charges for his despicable actions.
In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Walt Harris discussed Saturday’s return to the Octagon and how he plans on making Aniah proud with his performance.
“I love her so much, and I’m going to make her proud,” Harris said. “There will probably be some tears shed, I’ll go ahead and let ya’ll know right now.”
Before Aniah Blanchard’s body was recovered, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, including multiple staff members like Dana White and Jon Jones, supplied donations toward a reward for any information on Aniah’s disappearance. Walt Harris says he is grateful for the efforts made by his employer and the support he received online from fight fans.
“It’s proof that you can go through the worst thing you can possibly think of in your life, and bounce back,” Harris said. “I’m so grateful to the UFC, and to the fans, and everybody who’s supported me through all of this. And, that’s kinda been my motivation, that’s why I want to go in there and put a show on for them Saturday night and say thank you.”
Despite the recent family tragedy, Walt Harris says he is at peace with what has happened. ‘The Big Ticket’ now plans on honoring Aniah Blanchard with his performance on Saturday night.
“I’m at peace, man. I love her so much, and I’m going to make her proud Saturday night.”
Do you think Walt Harris will be able to get his hand raised when he takes on former Strikeforce and DREAM Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem tomorrow night in Jacksonville? Share your thoughts in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on May 16, 2020