UFC Newark: Scott Holtzman On How Fighting Has Changed as a Father

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UFC Newark’s Scott Holtzman sees fatherhood as a second chance, after his own troubled childhood led him to mixed martial arts.

Newark, NJ — For years, Scott Holtzman would do every hot sauce challenge thrown his way. “I got a lot of mileage on me in that sense. Early on in my career, I did all the hot sauce challenges,” he told reporters including Cageside Press following UFC Newark on Saturday. ‘Hot Sauce’ — “the nickname’s true,” he said, “I eat a lot of hot sauce, I eat it on everything” — earned a TKO over Dong Hyun Ma on the night.

Ma (short for Maestro, to clear up confusion with the identically named Dong Hyum Kim, a.k.a. Stun Gun), missed weight for the fight, and wound up having it called by the doctors after two rounds. Back in the win column for Holtzman, who’s sticking with the Hot Sauce name, even if he’s treating his stomach better these days.

Following the fight, Holtzman addressed the doctor’s stoppage, calling it gratifying. “I think to get a knockout or something like that is the ultimate feeling, but it’s gratification in a different way. Some of those shots, a lot of guys would have went down and stayed down.”

“My hand is so sore, my knuckles. He took some hard shots,” he added. So he felt “gratification in the fact that I’m a dog, too. I’m never going away.”

“Nobody’s shut me out, nobody’s completely smoked me or anything like that on any of my losses,” Holtzman pointed out. “It’s all close, I’m a dog. He got a knockdown, put me on my butt there, but all that did is piss me off.”

Holtzman said ahead of the fight that he wanted to have a “Donald Cerrone” moment in the cage, by bringing in his young son. “It’s a dream come true. Really, it is. It’s a different purpose, it’s a different sort of purpose for fighting. Before, it was anything I could do to avoid the real world a little bit. Fighting for myself, and to be the best I could be. But now with a family, and for him, it’s a different purpose.”

While his son is too young to remember it, “he’s going to be in those pics, and to be able to share this with him is so special, man.”

Holtzman himself came up without a strong father figure. “I had to learn a lot on my own. So for me, being a dad is about showing him how to achieve goals, and this is my platform to do that. I’m not going to tell him how to do things, I’m going to show him, so when he looks back, he knows ‘hey, Pops, he set a goal, he had a dream, he went up there and put it all on the line for everybody to see, and this is how he got it. He didn’t talk about it, he went up there and did it.’ To show him, that’s the ultimate for me.”

That lack of a father figure is in fact why Holtzman came into the sport of MMA, although he added “I think it’s a cliche story. I’m kind of jaded towards it, because a lot of media outlets, and the UFC [want to focus on it], and it’s not your fault — everybody wants to know the story behind the fighter.”

“I’m a typical story, troubled childhood, no father figure, a lot going on,” Holtzman elaborated. “All that story is the same. Now, I feel like with my boy, I get another chance. I tell people all the time, I get some funny looks, but fighting changed my life. Fighting people in this octagon changed my life for the better. Taught me a lot of lessons. Lessons learned through sport, but a lot of lessons the hard way, literally and figuratively. It’s changed my life for the better. I already can’t thank this sport enough for what it’s given me.”

Watch the full UFC Newark post-fight press scrum with Scott Holtzman above!

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