Walt Harris has withdrawn from his planned showdown with Alistair Overeem, which was expected to headline the UFC’s return to Washington DC on December 7, amid the tragedy of his daughter Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance.
News of Harris’ withdrawal from the card was first reported by MMA Junkie.
Harris’ daughter Blanchard went missing last Wednesday, October 23, near Auburn, Ala.
The latest police update unfortunately says that foul play was likely involved, and that the daughter of the UFC heavyweight Harris has most likely been harmed.
“The Auburn Police Division continues to diligently investigate the disappearance of Aniah Haley Blanchard who was reported missing by her family on October 24, 2019,” Auburn Police said in a Thursday statement (via MMA Fighting). “In that effort, Auburn and Montgomery Police as well as nine other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working on the case are operating as a task force.
“Evidence from within Aniah Blanchard’s vehicle, recovered in Montgomery, was examined by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and has now determined that she was harmed and is considered to be a victim of foul play. The Auburn Police Division and Montgomery Police Department are still requesting assistance from the public regarding any information on the location of Aniah and her vehicle between Wednesday, October 23, 2019, and today.”
Earlier this week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of those involved in Blanchard’s disappearance. UFC President Dana White subsequently added $25,000 to the pot, as did UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz.
Needless to say, the MMA community has been rallying behind Walt Harris during this heartbreaking time.
Harris last fought in July when he knocked out Alexey Oleynik. Prior to that, he stopped Sergey Spivak, also with strikes. These wins earned him his fight with the former Dream, K-1 and Strikeforce champ Overeem, which will unfortunately not be happening.
MMA Junkie reports that the UFC is seeking a replacement opponent for Overeem with Walt Harris out.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/1/2019.