Real life has a funny way turning upside-down at the drop of a dime. Just ask Dennis Hallman.
“Superman” spent more than four years beating up dudes on the regional circuit, trying to (again) fight his way back into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). His hard work was finally rewarded back in Dec. 2009, but he was quickly reminded about the stiff level of competition in the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion courtesy of a John Howard knockout.
Hallman would dust himself off and return to the Octagon with a vengeance, and really short shorts, to finish two of his next four opponents, with a loss to Brian Ebersole being the lone setback during that stretch. He was out to register back-to-back wins once again with a fight against Thiago Tavares on tap for UFC on FX 5 this past weekend (Oct. 5, 2012) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
But, then real life got in the way.
As the UFC on FX 5 weigh in event drew closer, rumblings began to emerge that Hallman was unable to make weight and that his fight with Tavares was scratched. It’s common in these types of situations that both fighters agree to fight at a catchweight, which they did, but even with the generous concession on the part of his Brazilian counterpart, Hallman still could not bring himself to make the cut.
It was a rare conclusion to a frequent problem — even if fighters are heavy, fights usually still happen. But, not this one, and Hallman recently revealed the real reason he was so unprepared and unable to perform at the Target Center in a recent interview with Frank Trigg.
“I just had a nervous breakdown. The day before I left, my wife — and this is pretty personal — has a drug problem. It’s a pretty sad situation. Her parent and I had planned to send her to treatment [after an intervention], but somehow she caught wind of it, or something, and she started acting crazy. We got into a whole argument about her going to treatment and she told me, ‘That’s it, I’m going to call the police and tell them that you pushed me and you’re going to go to jail.'”
Hallman went on to describe what happened next, including his wife following through with her threat, but only to be rebuffed by the local authorities who arrived because her diabolical plan was foiled by the eyewitness testimony of Bryan Caraway and Miesha Tate, who were in Hallman’s house to hear the argument.
She wouldn’t be deterred, however, and filed and emergency motion in court the next day for child custody and other things.
Unaware of the “real” facts behind the case, the judge granted her request and Hallman’s daughter, along with his car, was temporarily awarded to his wife pending the outcome of an actual custody hearing. Needless to say, Hallman was emotionally and physically drained in the run up to Minnesota, and if he wasn’t hard up for money, he admits that he would have withdrawn from the bout to avoid the mess it created.
“I probably had not slept for more than 20 minutes at a time. I might be able to kick 99 percent of peoples’ asses in this world, but when it comes to my family I’m just a wreck. So all that, combined with just the whole pressure of everything, I would have pulled out of the fight earlier, but I just needed the money so bad. And now, especially, I have to get a lawyer to try and get my daughter back from this crazy stuff that is going on. At the weigh ins, I just lost it, man. I grabbed Dana [White] and told him what was going on. And dude, no one can ever say another bad thing about that guy: When it comes to your family, he is the most stand up guy I’ve ever met. He put his arm around me, gave me a hug and said that the fight was off. He said we’re going to take care of you and make sure everything is okay. They gave me a plane ticket to go home that night and gave me my show money and my win money and said get you’re act together and we’ll go from there.”
Indeed, White cut him a check and sent him home to get his personal affairs in order. However, despite the kind gesture and compassion, UFC did once again cut Hallman. The 36-year-old veteran was told that once he got his family situation resolved, and once again strung together a few victories on the regional circuit, it would be possible for him to return to the Octagon in the future.
That’s real life.