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The UFC welterweight was accused of raping two women in Forth Worth, Texas, on March 23, 2018 after taking them home from a club where he worked as a bouncer. Alhassan claimed that he had consensual sex with only one of the women, and he was finally found not guilty of all charges in court this past March.
Regardless of what happened in court, life will never be the same for Alhassan. The public nature of the testimony has a way of sticking in people’s heads even after the accused’s name is cleared.
“It’s forever changed, because your name can never be the same,” Alhassan said while speaking to media on Monday. “But for me, life is back to normal. The reason I say that is the past two years life was not normal. The only thing I pretty much did cry, sleep, look at my family. Cry in my sleep without even knowing I was crying and my family would wake me up saying I was crying in my sleep. Think about the stress, what was going to happen in the future. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Alhassan fought once in the UFC after being indicted on the sexual assault allegations, defeating Niko Price by 43-second knockout at UFC 228 in September 2018. His career has been on hold since then, and for a while he wasn’t motivated to train or fight. The 34-year-old will return for the first time since beating Price when he meets Mounir Lazzez at UFC on ESPN 13 on Wednesday. For a long time, Alhassan doubted that he’d ever find his way back to the Octagon. His mind was in such a dark place that fighting wasn’t a serious consideration.
“So many times. I even doubted if I’d be alive, because I wanted to kill myself,” Alhassan said. “Because people don’t see what happens in the background. A lot of people who doubt you, or say bad stuff about you when they don’t know the truth, because this is the type of harassment you don’t wish on anybody.
“I sat down and thought about it. I have two kids. I have a girl and I have a boy. What would happen to them if I took myself out because of some evil people? But like I said I have proved my innocence and I proved that they will never amount to anything and God will always figure out and show the truth. But I learned so much from it.”
While the thoughts of suicide eventually subsided, the anger still remains. Alhassan is doing his best to work through those emotions so that he can fully focus on his MMA career.
“I thought about revenge. If I tell you I didn’t, I’m lying,” he said. “I thought about all the revenge in this world I can to take revenge. Because they really got to feel the pain that they put me through. They are out there stripping, not caring what they are doing to me. Having life, putting stuff on social media. They’re happy, throwing alcohol while I’m home crying everyday, can’t even take care of my kids. I have so much anger. I know it’s behind me now, but I really hope God takes some huge revenge on these girls. I really hope they get what they deserve.”
Getting a chance to return to the UFC after nearly two years on the sideline has been redemptive for the Fortis MMA product after so much uncertainty.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “When you go through some stuff like that and not knowing where your life is going, all you think about is negativity in your head, stress, it’s stressful.
“For God to help you through all of this and to prove your innocence and getting back to what you love. It’s amazing in so many different ways that I can be here today.”
Now, there is the matter of reclaiming the momentum lost due to idle time. Before his hiatus, “Judo Thunder” had been victorious in four of five UFC appearances, with all of his victories coming via first-round KO/TKO. His lone setback was a split-decision defeat to Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night 109. Alhassan is confident that he will be able to pick up where he left off come Wednesday night.
I don’t believe in [ring rust],” he said. “Of course it might feel different walking in there. The emotions might be different because you haven’t walked in there for a while. But when the door closes, knowing that there’s someone right there trying to smash your face in, that will give you all the motivation you need.”
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