For the second time in five months, UFC veteran Kevin Holland was involved in a crime-stopping incident. This most recent one happened on Monday night at a sushi restaurant in Houston when an active shooter suddenly opened fire.
Initial reports didn’t mention Holland’s name as it was his companion at the time who talked to the media. But on Tuesday, “Trailblazer” (a.k.a “Big Mouth”) spoke to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi to share his side of the story.
“I was facing one way and then we heard a big, loud bang. I thought it was a champagne bottle popping, ‘cause there were people behind us having a birthday party,” Holland recounted.
“I go to look around, I see people running like they had a look of death on their face. Super worried. So I’m like, ‘We know what this is. Get a little low.’ I check the corner, I see the gun. (I see another person) grab the guy, but the gun was facing right towards where we are.
“So I go around the other side. I come up behind the guy. I grabbed the chair, I was gonna smack him with a chair. But when you get to that side, you can’t really see who the shooter is, whether it’s the guy on top or the guy on bottom, exactly.”
Holland eventually figured out that the man on bottom was the shooter. Upon disarming the individual, the 29-year-old fighter says he took action by slapping in a rear-naked choke. The police were eventually called after the suspect was briefly put to sleep.
When asked why he decided to intervene, Holland credited the “self-defense first” mindset he learned during his earlier years as a kung fu practitioner.
“It seemed like the safer route, to go to (the gun), instead of going away from it,” he explained. “I started off in kung fu before I did any type of martial art. Self-defense first.
“And it’s funny ‘cause my baby uncle, we lived together. I was raised by my grandparents. He was in the same house when I started doing kung fu and stuff. So he used to kind of do the kung fu with me back in the day.
“It was instinct just to go to it instead of going away from it. Back in the day, we used to always say, ‘if it’s a knife, run. If it’s a gun, you go to.’ So it was a gun, we went to, instead of going away. Safer option. It worked out, smooth.”
Holland, however, said he wouldn’t recommend the same approach to the layman unless they’ve had proper training.
“I wouldn’t tell the next person to do it unless they’re seriously trained for this type of situation,” he said. “Besides just doing cagefighting, I trained self-defense first and foremost. To me, that was the proper way to defend myself at the moment. So that’s where I went. Plus, I like Batman.”
The incident happened barely two weeks after his successful UFC welterweight debut against Alex Oliveira at UFC 272 early this month. “Big Mouth” won the fight via second-round TKO and took home a $50K Performance of the Night bonus for it.