Walt Harris Thanks Alistair Overeem on Instagram After Loss at UFC on ESPN 8

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MAY 16: Alistair Overeem (top) of the Netherlands fights Walt Harris (bottom) of the United States in their Heavyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 16, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

UFC heavyweight Walt Harris lost to Alistair Overeem by second-round TKO at Saturday night's UFC on ESPN 8, but after the fight he thanked his opponent for the match on Instagram.

He also had a message for his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard, who was abducted and killed last year:

"First let me thank Alistair Overeem for sharing the octagon we me tonight... You're a class act brother and a legend! Tonight wasn't my night, but you best believe I will be back better! Thanks to everyone for all your love and support can't say it enough! We learn and grow! Baby girl... daddy loves you and I promise I will keep pushing! #ForeverAniah."

UFC @ufc

Humble in victory and defeat. What a showing by these two men tonight 💙 #UFCFL https://t.co/gJloA8flhF

Ibraheem Yazeed was arrested in November and has since been charged with capital murder in the case. 

Harris and Overeem had originally been scheduled to fight in December, but Harris pulled out of the fight after the death of his stepdaughter. 

"There was a point, honestly, where I felt like thinking of anything but my daughter was wrong," Harris said before the fight, per Amir Vera and Jamiel Lynch of CNN.com.

"My focus has been razor sharp since the tragedy. I'm fighting for a different purpose," he added. "My daughter is with me everywhere I go."

After the fight, Harris' UFC colleagues reacted to Harris' return to the Octagon:

Megan Anderson @MeganA_mma

Great win for Overeem but cant help but feel for Walt tonight. Words cannot describe how inspiring he is for what he did tonight. All the love to him and his family ❤❤ #UFCFL

Randa Markos @randamma

Great fight respect for Walt. Overeem is a beast

Chris Weidman @chrisweidman

Really sad to see him lose but makes it way better seeing how good of a sportsmen Overeem is being. Respect fo both !

"This was Walt's real big first fight. He'll learn from this, and he'll be back," UFC President Dana White said after the match, per Marc Raimondi of ESPN. "And coming off what he came off of, just getting here tonight was a huge step for him and his family—and I'm happy for him."

White added, "win, lose or draw, being here is a win."