Michael Bisping: Alistair Overeem helped inspire Walt Harris to start MMA

Walt Harris
Image via @bigticket205 on Instagram

Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping says Walt Harris discovered MMA by watching his most recent opponent, Alistair Overeem.

The former champion turned UFC commentator hosts a podcast, Believe You, Me, with co-host Luis J Gomez. During this week’s episode, Bisping and Gomez discussed Harris’ loss to Overeem last weekend in the main event of UFC on ESPN 8.

Despite Harris getting an early lead and nearly finishing Overeem in round one, Overeem bounced back in round two, setting up a massive head kick to secure the victory.

The action-packed bout received praise from Bisping who celebrated the fighters’ efforts and game plan.

He also discussed Harris’ path into MMA, which happens to have involved Overeem.

“He thought he was going to be a professional basketball player,” Bisping said on his podcast. “He got a scholarship at college and he was obsessed. He said ‘that’s it, I’m going to go the league, I’m not even going to try with my academics,’ and he never made it and he was like ‘what the f*ck am I going to do with my life.’ Mixed martial arts came along and it saved his life.”

Harris had his first MMA bout in 2010 before joining the UFC ranks in 2013. However, his first taste of MMA was watching defunct Japanese promotion PRIDE.

“When he decided he was going to do mixed martial arts, he was watching PRIDE and he was watching Alistair f*cking Overeem” said Bisping about Harris. “And he went to his mum and said ‘hey mum,’ and he showed her the tape and said ‘this is what I’m going to do, this is what I’m going to compete in.’ He was showing his mum a video of Alistair Overeem beating the f*ck out of somebody and now here he is fighting Alistair Overeem.”

Walt Harris has suffered many personal trials including the tragic death of his stepdaughter in 2019. His 2020 clash against Overeem was his first fight since this tragedy. Despite losing the fight, Walt Harris gave a valiant effort and proved he made the right decision to swap basketball for MMA.