|Venue: 3Arena, Dublin Date: Friday, 23 September|
|Protection: Stay protection on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport web site and app from 18:00 BST, with the primary card additionally reside on BBC Three from 21:00 BST|
Melvin Manhoef was in Paris selling an upcoming bout in opposition to Yoel Romero when he heard some worrying information – males may very well be planning to burgle his house.
His spouse and youngsters at his home within the Netherlands had discovered sheets of paper pushed below his entrance door – a trick utilized by thieves who assume if the paper shouldn’t be picked up inside days, then no one is house.
After his household checked footage on their neighbour’s digital camera, they found a person who they did not recognise inserting the paper, and a automotive ready round that that they had by no means seen earlier than.
Manhoef instantly rushed house.
“At that second my spouse and youngsters did not really feel protected, as a result of they did not know what might occur. I used to be scared for them, so I got here again from Paris,” Manhoef, 46, tells BBC Sport.
After arriving house, whereas his household have been out, Manhoef determined to attend in his automotive exterior his home in hope of questioning the person if he arrived once more.
Greater than an hour later, three males turned up within the automotive Manhoef had seen on the digital camera footage. They noticed Manhoef and drove off.
Manhoef sped after them, rammed their automotive off the highway and apprehended all three males earlier than the police arrived.
“What I did was very harmful however to guard my household I did what I needed to do,” he stated.
“I obtained out of the automotive shouting, going loopy saying ‘my household’ and this and that, and I went over to their automotive and threw one punch by the window, opening all my hand.
“I obtained the blokes, I used to be shouting and pulled them out. I did not hit them, however I needed to say it, I used to be going out of my thoughts.”
Manhoef says he drove at “about 120km/h” (75mph) down residential streets to catch the lads.
He’s not dealing with any costs for the incident, which occurred in March.
“I do know it’s a danger [to speed] nevertheless it was to guard the household. It is not good, however the adrenaline takes over. That is who I’m and I wish to defend my household,” he stated.
“I stated to them [while he waited for the police to arrive] ‘pay attention, do one thing along with your life, however not this, man. Do not steal from individuals. I do know life is difficult however do not do that’.”
Manhoef injured his hand punching by the automotive window which compelled his bout in opposition to Romero to be postponed.
The rescheduled light-heavyweight combat, which would be the 51st and closing bout of Manhoef’s 27-year MMA profession, will happen at Bellator 285 in Dublin on Friday.
‘It is an honour to combat Romero’
Since Manhoef made his debut in 1995 he has gained 32 of his fights, misplaced 15, drawn one with two ending in no contests.
His final was a defeat in opposition to Corey Anderson in 2020.
Manhoef has skilled a number of change all through his profession in MMA, the place a sport and its athletes as soon as marginalised in most locations around the globe now flourish.
Manhoef stays grateful that he was capable of flip his ardour for preventing into his occupation.
“What’s loopy is we get good pay now. Again then it was quite a bit much less,” he stated.
“The game is actually accepted now, and folks see you as a real sportsman.
“After all, you do not do the game for the cash, you begin as a interest, so you then put in work, after which it’s a job.
He continued: “We put our lives at risk and do a number of issues. This yr I’ve damaged my jaw, my thumb, my shin is break up open, so many issues, however you receives a commission nicely for it and I prefer it.
“It’s my ardour so I am very glad I might flip my ardour into my job.”
In Cuba’s Romero, Manhoef faces an opponent who like himself, is a veteran of the game.
Romero, 45, is a former UFC middleweight title challenger who made his debut in 2009 following a background in wrestling.
His final combat was a dominant victory over Alex Polizzi at Bellator 280 in Paris, in Could.
“He [Romero] is likely one of the best fighters I’ve fought in opposition to,” stated Manhoef.
“He’s additionally a man who did quite a bit within the sport, particularly wrestling. It’s a nice honour to combat him.
“We are able to do our factor and see who’s the very best. That is essentially the most attention-grabbing for a fighter as a result of it is what you wish to know. You wish to be the very best so it’s important to combat the very best.”