Dana White Believes Kevin Holland Had ‘Mental Breakdown’ at UFC on ESPN 21

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 21, 2021

When Kevin Holland debuted in the UFC, Dana White dubbed him “Big Mouth” due to his talkative nature in the Octagon.

Holland emerged as a serious prospect after losing his debut to Thiago Santos, as he won eight of his next nine bouts within the Las Vegas-based promotion. However, with a serious opportunity in front of him, Holland seemed more interested in talking than he did in fighting, and the result was a lackluster decision loss to Derek Brunson in the UFC on ESPN 21 headliner on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

All too often, Holland seemed content to talk to Brunson from his back after being taken down. Although he had some positive moments on the feet and become the first person to take Brunson down in UFC competition, it wasn’t nearly enough to sway the scorecards in his favor.

White thinks there may have been something more serious going on with Holland.

“I think that was a mental breakdown,” the UFC president told Yahoo Sports. “The only other thing I saw like it was [in boxing] when Lennox Lewis fought that guy [Oliver McCall] who kept his hands at his side and was crying. I don’t know what he was doing. I think he might not have been able to handle the pressure and just broke mentally. I haven’t seen anything like that.”

When Holland wasn’t conversing with Brunson, he was yelling to White and retired former lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov, who were seated cageside. Though Holland slipped on the mat during the main event, White said the fighter wasn’t complaining about anything during their interactions.

“He wasn’t b—-ing about anything,” White said. “He thought everybody in here was his friend and he was just out having some fun.”

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