Man, how far he's fallen since that UFC 3 win over Royce Gracie. Albeit by forfeit, of course. Anyway...
Instead of a fight, the next time Harold Howard utters his well known "If you're coming on, come on!" catchphrase, his words will likely be followed by prison sex and obligatory spooning with his cellmate “Shanky” Dave.
The cartwheel-kicking former UFC underachiever and my Canadian homeboy, who was the first fighter to ever defeat Royce Gracie (Okay, fine, the win over Royce was by forfeiture, but it was still real to me, damn it!) was sentenced today to just south of five years in jail for his pre-Christmas family festivities last year that saw him attack two relatives with a claw hammer before crashing his pick-up truck through the front doors of a Niagara Falls casino.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been involved in many a spirited and spirit-fueled debate with members of my family over the holidays, and I may have at times had the urge to grab an implement out of my tool box to drive home the points that didn’t seem to be getting through to my relatives, but the difference between thinking about it and actually doing it says a lot about the mental state Howard must have been in at the time.
Here's a retelling of the incident from The Niagara Falls Review:
"Hill said Howard had been staying at his sister's home on Muir Ave. His nephew was getting milk out of the refrigerator when Howard suddenly attacked him with a hammer, striking him five or six times with the claw end of the weapon. The nephew required 21 stitches to close the gash on his head and six stitches to close a wound on his hand.
Howard's sister entered the room after her son screamed and she was struck with the hammer and fell to the ground. She suffered a broken finger, a gash to the right eye and cuts. She required four stitches.
The nephew struck Howard with a chair, which ended the attack. Howard then drove to a house on Carmen St., where his estranged spouse and son lived, and struck her vehicle that was parked in the driveway, causing about $3,000 damage. He then approached the front door and tried to gain entry and yelled: 'You ruined my life.'
Police were called and located Howard driving his pickup truck, but he failed to stop. A pursuit followed reaching speeds of 110 km/h in a 50 km/h zone.
When Howard approached Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort, he crashed his pickup truck through the glass front doors and it glanced off the fountain in the lobby, coming to rest against a pole."
Never one to make excuses for himself or to let anyone else fight his battles, the 52-year-old karate and Japanese jiu-jitsu black belt and instructor, who has spent the better part of the past two decades teaching the next generation of UFC hopefuls how to “Come on!” at his Niagara Falls martial arts studio, represented himself in court Friday. Howard pled guilty to six charges (aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, dangerous driving, failing to remain at the scene of an accident, mischief and breach of a court order) which was a vast reduction from the original tally of 25 that included two charges of attempted murder.
Addressing the court one last time before sentencing, Howard made a couple interesting requests, including one for the hammer that started the whole ball rolling:
"After assuring the court that "these actions are not [his] normal behaviour," Howard asked if his sentence could be served in a facility out west, explaining that he had no future in the Niagara region. He also wanted to know if someone could retrieve some belongings and tools from his former residences."
In my mind, that's not how I saw his speech going down at all. I pictured Howard snapping his head to face the judge, while tearing off his wraparound shades and muttering one of his prophetic post-fight gems, like: "Well, I told you, if it worked, it worked and it didn’t, I didn’t. "So in the end, it didn’t," before getting into his karate stance and going out in a blaze of glory.
Yeah, I found this on Cage Potato of course.