5 biggest takeaways from UFC on ESPN 8: Walt Harris’ heartbreak reminds us how cruel MMA can be

What mattered most at UFC on ESPN 8 in Jacksonville, Fla.? Here are a few post-fight musings …

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1. MMA unbiased in its cruelty

It seemed like such a fairytale moment for Walt Harris. In his first fight since the kidnapping and tragic death of his stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard, last October, Harris got off to a perfect start. He dropped Alistair Overeem and nearly got a quick knockout win in their main event on Saturday night, but then the tables turned.

Some referees might have stopped the fight in Harris’ favor during that first-round barrage. On another night, perhaps Overeem goes out with the punches, as his chin is by no means his primary asset. But that’s not what transpired, and instead, Overeem charged back, dropped Harris in the second round then methodically chipped away until he got a TKO.

It was an example of how quickly the tide can shift in MMA. Emotions and personal experiences mean nothing inside the octagon when the fists are flying. Just when it seemed a heartfelt moment was coming, a heartbreak was served in its place.

This loss is sure to burn away at Harris’ soul. However, hopefully he can take that fire and put it to his feet as a motivator. As UFC president Dana White said post-fight, Harris is a winner for merely showing up under these trying circumstances, and the loss on his record is somewhat inconsequential to his triumph of the human spirit.

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