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Former UFC fighter William Knight reveals seven family members died before his last fight: ‘My brain wasn’t even there’

William Knight was gearing up to throw hands against Polish karateka Marcin Prachnio at the UFC Vegas 69 event back in February. To help prepare for his Light Heavyweight showdown, the 5’10” powerhouse was expecting to put his body through a variety of training drills at Thornton Martial Arts and Fitness in East Hartford.

Instead, “The Knightmare” was carrying another coffin.

No one knew about the pain Knight was going through during the bout, both mentally and physically. Yes, he ate 63 leg kicks which rendered him motionless during and after the contest, but his heart and mind were broken long before the fight because he was dealing with something much bigger than fighting.

“I wasn’t in a mental state to take that fight, man. Like, I just lost my grandfather and just lost my grandmother and just lost another family member. This s—t got crazy,” Knight recently told “Since June, July, all the way to February, back-to-back-to-back deaths. And it wasn’t even just distant people. These were immediate family members that I’ve seen on a regular basis, every day…I would call them on a daily basis.”

Knight lost seven family members leading up to his showdown with Prachnio and being a fighter at heart, he managed to stuff down his emotions; however, he could not predict the toll it would take on him mentally, which then trickled down to him physically.

“They say if you’re not mentally there, you’re not going to physically be there. You see what I’m saying? Like I stood there, and I’m not proud of it. I’m telling you the facts now, my brain wasn’t even there,” Knight continued. “Like, it didn’t take until I got into the f—king car to understand what just happened. I didn’t know my coach was yelling at me. I didn’t know what was going on. I was just standing there just like moving back and forth. And when I’m telling myself to go, like go, I wasn’t f—king going. I don’t know what the fuck happened, I froze up.”

Knight lost the fight by unanimous decision and was harassed by toxic MMA fans for several weeks because of his performance.

“I wasn’t there, man. There are people who go through things like, ‘Oh, my mom has this and my dad has that.’ But when you lose seven family members, and you’re sitting here like, ‘I’ll be cool,’ and you’re carrying the coffin,” Knight said. “You’re seeing the energy of your family down because they just lost what keeps the family together. Like I said, man, it was crazy. The feeling I had I just wasn’t there, man. That’s not me. That fight was not me.’

Knight was released by UFC a few days later but insists it was a relief because he needs more time to mourn and develop as a fighter. In the interim, “Knightmare” will return to action next Friday (May 12) at CES 73, taking on Domingo Barros for the vacant CES Heavyweight title.

The ambitious Knight already has plans to drop to Light Heavyweight to claim a double championship.

“I understand people are sleeping and underestimating me because of my last couple of fights, but they’re so stupid,” Knight said. “I was coming off of a f—ked up situation where I lost seven family members.”

This story originally appeared on MMA Mania

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