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Houston Alexander

This guy is a hero and in the running for T-man of the year.

Six Reasons why Houston Alexander Fights
By Thomas Gerbasi

Houston Alexander doesn’t hear a thing.

Despite the roar of the crowd, the thumping beat of the entrance music blaring through arena speakers, and the shouts of his opponent’s cornermen, as well as his own team’s, nothing breaks the Nebraska fighter’s focus when
he enters the Octagon. He stares across at his opponent, who - for the next 15 minutes or less - will try to hurt him, make him bleed, or most importantly, take away what he has fought so hard for over the last six years.

It’s then that his intent becomes even more intense. He sees the faces of his six children, aged five to 16, and he thinks of them, what they’ve gone through, and where he hopes to take them. A win brings that goal closer; a loss, and it’s back to square one.

“I see this guy trying to take something from them by trying to take me out, and I’ve got to get him first,” says Alexander, who paces back and forth before the bell, waiting to be sent into battle. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll brush the right side of his torso with his fist, just as a reminder of what he would do for his children.

The year is 2000.

Fighting in the UFC isn’t even a dream at this point, nor is any type of professional prizefighting. Alexander is a working stiff like the rest of us, putting in long hours on a construction crew working with asphalt. Even talking about it years later, he sighs, “It was a very stressful, hard job.”

Yet in addition to sometime 10 hour shifts in the summer heat, Alexander - then the father of five - had more troubling issues on his mind. His oldest child, 10 year old daughter Elan, was born with a kidney dysfunction, and now the kidney was starting to give out on her. The decision he made next wasn’t tough for him, but it was monumental - he was tested and was a match for his daughter. Soon after, he gave Elan his kidney. A week later, he was back at work.

“I was the only breadwinner for the family, so we needed the money,” said Alexander, now 35. Elan, now 16, is doing well, and her father can see her doing all the things every typical teenager does. It wouldn’t have been possible without his sacrifice, but if you want him to give himself a deserving pat on the back, it’s not going to happen.

“I’m pretty sure if other family members needed to step up to the plate that they would have,” he said. “It just happened to be me. But it’s good to see that she’s healthy and that she can be normal. That’s what I’m striving for now - I’m striving for normalcy for my kids.”

A year later, Alexander started fighting on a dare. Soon after, he started taking it more seriously and began learning the finer points of mixed martial arts as he entered the pro ranks. But whether it was fighting in amateur smokers in tiny halls or nightclubs or before 15,000 people in the UFC, his kids were always his motivation.

“I don’t know why these other guys fight, but I fight for a reason,” he said. “That’s why I fight so passionately.”

Fast forward to May of 2007. The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It’s the biggest UFC show in years, with Chuck Liddell defending his light heavyweight crown against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. A 35-year old with seven confirmed pro fights enters the Octagon for the first time against 205-pound contender Keith Jardine. Jardine is fresh off a knockout win over Forrest Griffin, and the fact that he is matched up against this veritable MMA neophyte is seen as a gimme, a keep-busy reward until a bigger fight comes along.

But Alexander didn’t get the memo stating that he was brought in to lose to Jardine, and he shatters any preconceptions in just 48 seconds - the time it took for him to send his opponent crashing to the deck after a vicious uppercut.

“Get up,” screamed an adrenaline-jacked Alexander to Jardine after the fight was halted, and suddenly, fight fans had a new hero, a Mike Tyson for the MMA crowd without all the out of the ring baggage the former heavyweight boxing champion lugged around. Here was a guy who talked of bringing the passion back to the sport, and actually delivered on his promise, something made even more vivid in his next fight at UFC 75 in September when he blasted out Alessio Sakara at 1:01 of the first round.

“I don’t like wasting time,” he said. “I picture myself in the audience and I’m watching myself. How would I want to see myself fight? I would love to see myself go after the individual.”

As for the Tyson comparisons, Alexander says, “I was probably one of the biggest fans. I watched him when he won the championship and that’s the first glimpse I got of him. I never seen anybody hit that hard. I saw him hit one guy with a left hook that sent the guy flying 15 feet. I told myself, ‘that’s how I want to hit.’ This guy was hitting like that at 19, and a lot of grown men couldn’t even handle that. That’s how I want to fight people. I want to hit 'em that hard where they can’t handle it.”

It’s why Jardine got rocked and sent on the road to defeat by a right hand delivered while in a clinch, a position usually known as a “safe zone” for knockout punches. It’s also why Sakara, a former pro boxer who met with some success in the sweet science, opted to go for a takedown after tasting some of Alexander’s power, only to be tossed aside like a rag doll before knees ended the fight.

Alexander just chuckles, and whenever there’s a lull in the conversation, you can hear the clicks. Soon, he puts the hand grips up to the phone receiver so you can hear them better.

“Hand squeezers, every day,” he laughs. “That’s why I’m heavy-handed. Now my secret is out.”

Not likely, but for Alexander, who has been lifting weights since the fifth grade and who can bench press close to 450 pounds, power has been his ticket to a new level in the UFC where each one of his fights is now ‘must see’ TV, because let’s face it - everyone loves a knockout artist. Luckily for the UFC, Alexander is just as cordial and accessible with the media and the fans as he is merciless with opponents. In other words, he wears his celebrity well.

“I’m 35 years old, so I think I’m able to handle it better than the youngest guys,” he explains. “At 25, it would probably go to your head, with people saying that no one could beat you, and the way everyone’s talking around me, they’re giving me the belt before I even earn it, so I keep telling these people, ‘I have to earn this belt, I have to earn my rank, and I don’t want anything given to me.’ You can’t say I’m the next champ because I have to earn it.”

Again, Alexander - who returns to the Octagon this Saturday night against unbeaten Thiago Silva - credits his children for his ability to stay humble in circumstances that would give anyone else a swelled head.

“When I’ve got to walk through the door and pick up clothes, that humbles me right there, and that is my final answer,” he laughs. “Kids will humble you quick. Anytime they choose WWE over UFC, that’s quite humbling. They like Batista, and I’m no Batista. I’m not (John) Cena; I’m Dad who fights.”

He’s also Dad the taskmaster and Dad the referee, as interviews are sometimes punctuated by him telling his kids to do their chores or to make sure they’re sharing the video game they’re playing. But these aren’t burdens on him; it’s part of who he is as a single parent with custody of all of his children, and why he wants to show the world a different side of professional athletes.

“I wouldn’t want to disappoint people like that,” said Alexander when talking about ‘going Hollywood’. “I have a lot of people looking up to me, specifically the kids, and I have a whole community of people who stand behind me, so I have to watch what I say and watch what I do because I consider myself a role model. I don’t care what other professional athletes say when they say ‘oh, I’m not a role model.’ Yes you are, because there are a lot of kids who pattern themselves as a Michael Jordan or a Walter Payton. And I’m not a perfect guy, but I’m gonna try to do my best to guide a lot of individuals that are looking up to me. I know my role and I know why God put me in this position. I came out of nowhere, and I’m a nobody to a lot of these people still, but God put me in this position for a reason, and I think that reason was to show everyday individuals that this can happen for you.”

And if having six kids and fighting athletes trained to separate your head from your shoulders isn’t enough pressure, you would think that being a role model to strangers would definitely do the trick. Not so, says Alexander.

“There’s no pressure because I’m gonna act like myself,” he said. “I’ve been this way for years, and nothing’s gonna change me. How you see me in interviews, how you talk to me over the phone, and how we’re talking in person, this is how I am. Nothing’s gonna change me from being who I am. I’m a standup dude, I’m a loyal guy, I’m a hardworking guy and I’m a family guy, and you don’t want to mess with too many family guys because the stress of having kids itself is more than enough to tick you off. (Laughs)”

And you don’t want to tick off Alexander, because even with guys he’s liked and respected like Jardine and Sakara, he’s fought them like they kicked his dog before the bell rang. But in this business, you’re only as good as your last fight, and Alexander still has doubters to convert when he fights Silva on Saturday night. He’s fine with that though, just like he’s fine with those who question his ground game or stamina.

“No one cares about Chuck Liddell’s ground game,” he deadpans. “And I’ve got two words for the UFC fans who are saying that - Bob Schirmer. He is possibly one of the best jiu-jitsu and judo guys in the world, and his team has won tournaments all over the world. I’m working with him, plus I’ve got my own homegrown Curly Alexander. He’s one of the best wrestling coaches in the Midwest. He has over 35 years of experience of coaching top wrestlers. So all I’ve got to do is mention those two guys. And I’m wrestling with All-Americans every other day, so they shouldn’t have to worry about that - they should worry about getting past that first line of defense. If they can’t get past that, they’re not gonna see the ground game. Worry about the fists and the knees first.”

As for his gas tank, having only fought a combined 1:49 in his two UFC bouts, he says, “Whenever it goes to the second round, which I highly doubt, then I’ll take a deep breath and come out the same way I did in the first round. We don’t train for a round or for the first two minutes. My coaches and I train for a whole fight.”

But with his six kids in his mind and his two fists and two knees always at the ready, Houston Alexander’s already got every opponent outnumbered.

http://www.ufc.com/index.cfm?fa=news.detail&gid=8618

HOUSTON ALEXANDER IS ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE
Monday, November 12, 2007 - by Damon Martin - MMAWeekly.com

Big wins and title fights are vital to anyone competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but for Houston Alexander it’s always been family first and fighting is just the icing on the cake.

With all the focus on the fight game, many people have recently learned more about the life and background the light heavyweight fighter, including his household chores that keep him busy when he’s not training or working as a deejay in his home state of Nebraska.

I guess it’s kind of cool for everybody to find out that one of the hardest hitting guys in the UFC actually vacuums, said Alexander in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I can run a mean vacuum.”

He stays focused on his fighting career by knowing what real pressure feels like on an everyday basis.

“You want pressure? take care of some kids,” he said. “Cause the fighting part is easy.”

While the physical parts of fighting usually take the forefront, it’s the mental aspect that can make or break many competitors. At 35 years of age, Alexander is focused and ready for whatever the UFC will put in front of him.

“It’s very important,” he said about the mental side of fighting. "Fortunately, I have maybe 75 to 80% of that mental game down pat. I’m glad I’m 35 years old. A lot of people say “oh, well, 35-years-old is too old in MMA.”

“Well, look at Randy Couture. I think at 35-years-old you’re a lot more grounded. I think you have a few more responsibilities, so you’ve actually got something to fight for.”

What Alexander has to fight for is six children at home that call him “Dad” and he’s already made decisions in life that most will never have to face.

“In 2000, my daughter needed a kidney and a lot of people ask, “why does he have this scar on the side of his stomach?” Well the scar on the side of my stomach is from me giving my daughter a kidney in 2000,” he explained. “When your kids need something like that, you don’t think twice.”

The Nebraskan is quick to point out that 2007 has been a blessing for him and his family and he hopes to keep things on pace with his upcoming bout at UFC 78 in Newark, N.J.

“The fight with Keith (Jardine), the fight with (Alessio) Sakara, all this happened for a reason and if my reason is to bring some type of excitement to the UFC to kind of jumpstart it a little bit, if that’s my job, so be it.”

His opponent in New Jersey will be Chute Boxe and Team Link fighter Thiago Silva, who is currently sporting an undefeated record and fights with a tremendous amount of intensity.

“Thiago (Silva) likes to come out the same way,” said Alexander. “He likes to come out and start striking from the footage I’ve seen and I like doing the same. If you’ve got two guys who like doing the same thing, you’re going to find some fireworks somewhere in the fight.”

In his two fights so far in the UFC, Alexander has dispatched of his opponents in a total of less than two minutes and he’s looking for another quick finish against Silva.

“Here’s a hint. We’re trying to keep it under two minutes,” he said with confidence. “Even after this third fight, we’re trying to keep it under two minutes.”

Always ready for a three-round fight, Alexander says the hard training is almost over and the fight with Silva will be the payoff and he promises an exciting fight.

“I know what you can expect from me. It’s balls to the wall with me. I’m going to get it on until someone’s passing out or tapping out.”



http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=5052&zoneid=13

[quote]Grimnuruk wrote:
This guy is a hero and in the running for T-man of the year.

[/quote]

Why’s that? Not trying to be a dick, I just don’t see why he is so special.

He’s a single dad with 6 kids. On one hand, he’s irresponsible to have that many kids as a construction worker without being married to a solid woman, and at such a young age.

On the other hand, he’s incredibly responsible for taking care of 6 kids on his own. God bless him.

Alexander’s certainly made a name for himself this year in the UFC. He’s an exciting fighter, for sure.

He’s going to have his hands full with Silva, though, on Saturday.

You know, I was down on the UFC 78 card at first, but I really feel like if all these guys bring it that we could have a very exciting card from top to bottom.

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
Alexander’s certainly made a name for himself this year in the UFC. He’s an exciting fighter, for sure.

He’s going to have his hands full with Silva, though, on Saturday.

You know, I was down on the UFC 78 card at first, but I really feel like if all these guys bring it that we could have a very exciting card from top to bottom.[/quote]

Agreed.

Also, Houston Alexander is a fuckin beast.

-dizzle

[quote]analog_kid wrote:

Why’s that? Not trying to be a dick, I just don’t see why he is so special.
[/quote]

Everyone who has given up one of your organs to save another human being, raise your hand.

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crickets chirping
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Seems like a pretty special guy to me.

That uppercut didn’t send Jardine “crashing to the deck”; that was just gravity.

“To the moon, Alice!”

[quote]Steve4192 wrote:
analog_kid wrote:

Why’s that? Not trying to be a dick, I just don’t see why he is so special.

Everyone who has given up one of your organs to save another human being, raise your hand.

.
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crickets chirping
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.
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Seems like a pretty special guy to me.[/quote]

So he’s the only dude in the world to donate an organ or raise his kids on his own? I’m not trying to take anything away from the guy, I just wish we didn’t live in a world where doing the right thing made you a hero. We should all be heroes damn it.

[quote]Melvin Smiley wrote:
That uppercut didn’t send Jardine “crashing to the deck”; that was just gravity.

“To the moon, Alice!”[/quote]

I didn’t catch the fight, but I did find this clip. Hurray for Fightreport.net. Looks crash-tastic to me.

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
You know, I was down on the UFC 78 card at first…[/quote]
For a second, I thought you meant you were supposed to be on the card. Ha. More power to ya, man.

[quote]Melvin Smiley wrote:
…that was just gravity.

…[/quote]

Awesome.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Melvin Smiley wrote:
That uppercut didn’t send Jardine “crashing to the deck”; that was just gravity.

“To the moon, Alice!”

I didn’t catch the fight, but I did find this clip. Hurray for Fightreport.net. Looks crash-tastic to me.
[/quote]

I was talking about the big uppercut before that one, the one that sent Jardine closer to the ceiling than the floor. Liftoff!

I’d really like to see him and Sokoudjou swing leather. Of course, it wouldn’t suprise me if there wound be being a double KO at 0:30 in the first round.

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
I’d really like to see him and Sokoudjou swing leather. Of course, it wouldn’t suprise me if there wound be being a double KO at 0:30 in the first round.[/quote]

Dammit! I was going to post that.

Soko supposedly signed with the UFC.

[quote]Chewie wrote:
Doug Adams wrote:
I’d really like to see him and Sokoudjou swing leather. Of course, it wouldn’t suprise me if there wound be being a double KO at 0:30 in the first round.

Dammit! I was going to post that.

Soko supposedly signed with the UFC.[/quote]

Yeah he’s going to fight Machida in December, which I seriously doubt will go to the score cards.

[quote]analog_kid wrote:
So he’s the only dude in the world to donate an organ or raise his kids on his own? I’m not trying to take anything away from the guy, I just wish we didn’t live in a world where doing the right thing made you a hero. We should all be heroes damn it.

[/quote]

1st of all, if you donate or organ to save someone then yes…you would be a hero. Donating an organ isn’t automatically the right thing to do. And everyone who has should be considered a hero.

2nd of all, he is special because he makes a great story right now which just adds to the entertainment. You can’t help but want him to win and see him destroy another opponent considering what he has done and how he has come up into UFC.

Saving kid + beating people up + taking care of his family
= special person

You do all those things and people will be thinking you are a hero.

Another cool article:

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:

Yeah he’s going to fight Machida in December, which I seriously doubt will go to the score cards.

[/quote]

I disagree.

Lyoto isn’t going to sit in Sokoudjou’s range and get blasted like Rogerio & Ricardo did. He’s going to dance like he always does, staying in range just long enough to throw a combination and then darting back out of range.

Love him or hate him, Machida is a technical wizard and has the best striking defense of anyone in MMA. In 45 minutes of cage time, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone land a hard shot on him, and I don’t think Sokoudjou is technical enough to be the first. Lyoto is the Floyd Mayweather of MMA.

I see another flawless UD victory in his future.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Djwlfpack wrote:
You know, I was down on the UFC 78 card at first…
For a second, I thought you meant you were supposed to be on the card. Ha. More power to ya, man.[/quote]

Yeah, I progressed right from submission grappling (with an 0-1 record) to the UFC. Wouldn’t that be a great story?

Man, I wouldn’t even want to think of what would happen to me if I stepped in the cage right now. Well, I guess it would be exciting for everyone except my immediate family as I get pummeled to pieces.

All joking aside, I do think this is going to be a really good card. Don’t know if I’ll pay $40 to watch it, but I might make a point to head out to the local sports bar to watch.

[quote]vbm537 wrote:

1st of all, if you donate or organ to save someone then yes…you would be a hero. Donating an organ isn’t automatically the right thing to do. And everyone who has should be considered a hero.

2nd of all, he is special because he makes a great story right now which just adds to the entertainment. You can’t help but want him to win and see him destroy another opponent considering what he has done and how he has come up into UFC.

Saving kid + beating people up + taking care of his family
= special person

You do all those things and people will be thinking you are a hero.

Another cool article:


[/quote]

Why does there need to be a story behind him for us to like him?

About a month ago I had a conversation with an owner of a MMA gym whom is an acquaintance through my sons wrestling program.

Anyway, he sent 3 fighters down to audition for TUF. 1 of them did very well and basically schooled alot of the other fighters. They were hoping this would help break him out.

His fighter was basically told he didn’t get selected because he is married with 2 kids and stable. No drama, no story, just a normal dude.

They are looking for characters.

Why do you think Franklin got a rematch with Silva so quickly in his hometown? They want Silva out of there because he doesn’t speak English and there really is no story. He just trains and kicks everyone’s ass.

You are either a good fighter or not. I personally don’t give a shit about all this fluff.

Additionally, that type of fan base is not good for the sport. It may be good for the holding companies revenue but IMO waters down what makes it appealing in the first place.

[quote]apwsearch wrote:

Why does there need to be a story behind him for us to like him?

About a month ago I had a conversation with an owner of a MMA gym whom is an acquaintance through my sons wrestling program.

Anyway, he sent 3 fighters down to audition for TUF. 1 of them did very well and basically schooled alot of the other fighters. They were hoping this would help break him out.

His fighter was basically told he didn’t get selected because he is married with 2 kids and stable. No drama, no story, just a normal dude.

They are looking for characters.

Why do you think Franklin got a rematch with Silva so quickly in his hometown? They want Silva out of there because he doesn’t speak English and there really is no story. He just trains and kicks everyone’s ass.

You are either a good fighter or not. I personally don’t give a shit about all this fluff.

Additionally, that type of fan base is not good for the sport. It may be good for the holding companies revenue but IMO waters down what makes it appealing in the first place.
[/quote]

I am assuming you are asking the question in general and not specifically to me. If it is to me…for the same reason Rocky movies kick ass…that’s what people like…some guy making it against the odds. I don’t control the masses but we all know how it works. Maybe if there were more great fighters in UFC story lines wouldn’t be as important to promote a fighter. Basically, I agree with what you are saying…but it is what it is.