|Venue: 3Arena, Dublin Date: Friday, 23 September|
|Protection: Dwell 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 towards Yoel Romero when he heard some worrying information – males may very well be planning to burgle his dwelling.
His spouse and youngsters at his home within the Netherlands had discovered sheets of paper pushed underneath his entrance door – a trick utilized by thieves who assume if the paper isn’t picked up inside days, then no person is dwelling.
After his household checked footage on their neighbour’s digital camera, they found a person who they did not recognise putting the paper, and a automobile ready round that they’d by no means seen earlier than.
Manhoef instantly rushed dwelling.
“At that moment my wife and children didn’t feel safe, because they didn’t know what could happen. I was scared for them, so I came back from Paris,” Manhoef, 46, tells BBC Sport.
After arriving dwelling, whereas his household have been out, Manhoef determined to attend in his automobile outdoors his home in hope of questioning the person if he arrived once more.
Greater than an hour later, three males turned up within the automobile Manhoef had seen on the digital camera footage. They noticed Manhoef and drove off.
Manhoef sped after them, rammed their automobile off the street and apprehended all three males earlier than the police arrived.
“What I did was very dangerous but to protect my family I did what I had to do,” he mentioned.
“I got out of the car shouting, going crazy saying ‘my family’ and this and that, and I went over to their car and threw one punch through the window, opening all my hand.
“I acquired 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 boys.
He is not facing any charges for the incident, which occurred in March.
“I do know it’s a threat [to speed] however it was to guard the household. It is not good, however the adrenaline takes over. That is who I’m and I need to shield my household,” he mentioned.
“I mentioned to them [while he waited for the police to arrive] ‘pay attention, do one thing together with your life, however not this, man. Do not steal from individuals. I do know life is tough however do not do that’.”
Manhoef injured his hand punching through the car window which forced his bout against Romero to be postponed.
The rescheduled light-heavyweight fight, which will be the 51st and final bout of Manhoef’s 27-year MMA career, will take place at Bellator 285 in Dublin on Friday.
‘It is an honour to struggle Romero’
Since Manhoef made his debut in 1995 he has won 32 of his fights, lost 15, drawn one with two ending in no contests.
His last was a defeat against Corey Anderson in 2020.
Manhoef has experienced a lot of change throughout his career in MMA, where a sport and its athletes once marginalised in most places around the world now flourish.
Manhoef remains grateful that he was able to turn his passion for fighting into his profession.
“What’s loopy is we get good pay now. Again then it was rather a lot much less,” he mentioned.
“The game is absolutely accepted now, and folks see you as a real sportsman.
“Of course, you don’t do the sport for the money, you start as a hobby, so then you put in work, and then it is a job.
He continued: “We put our lives at risk and do a whole lot of issues. This 12 months 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 is my passion so I’m very glad I could turn my passion 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 struggle was a dominant victory over Alex Polizzi at Bellator 280 in Paris, in Could.
“He [Romero] is one of the greatest fighters I have fought against,” mentioned Manhoef.
“He is also a guy who did a lot in the sport, especially wrestling. It is a great honour to fight him.
“We are able to do our factor and see who’s the perfect. That is essentially the most attention-grabbing for a fighter as a result of it is what you need to know. You need to be the perfect so it’s a must to struggle the perfect.”