Article

Hardonk, Cool Under Pressure, Foils Mugging in LA

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - We all know the old adage about ‘strength in numbers’, but you have to think that the three young men who tried to mug 6 foot 4, 245 pound UFC heavyweight Antoni Hardonk in Los Angeles a week and a half ago were either very brave or very stupid – or both.
By Thomas Gerbasi

We all know the old adage about ‘strength in numbers’, but you have to think that the three young men who tried to mug 6 foot 4, 245 pound UFC heavyweight Antoni Hardonk in Los Angeles a week and a half ago were either very brave or very stupid – or both.

“I’ve worked security in the clubs and had some incidents there when people are fighting and you have to break up a fight, or somebody’s drunk and you have to guide them out, but this time, they wanted to have my money, they wanted to rob me, and that was a new experience for me,” Hardonk told UFC.com. “First they asked if I had some change so I looked in my wallet. They said they needed some help, and asked if I could help them out. I don’t mind helping people, so I took a look. Then suddenly the tone in their voice changed and they said ‘gimme your money.’

One of the assailants produced a utility knife, and while most would have panicked – and rightfully so – in such a situation, Hardonk kept his cool and refused to hand over his wallet. A tense standoff ensued for a few moments until his attackers decided to leave.

“I don’t think they expected my reaction,” he said. “Most people would have freaked out, but there was nothing in my mind or my body that said I was going to hand the money to those guys. It just doesn’t feel right to me. So then they started hesitating and they walked off.”

Hardonk, who was with a friend at the time, decided to head back to his LA apartment, with the friend offering him a ride home. Shortly thereafter, Hardonk again saw the trio that tried to mug him assaulting someone else. His friend quickly called the police, but Hardonk decided to take matters into his own hands.

The heavyweight prospect approached the three men, pushed one over, breaking off the blade of the utility knife in the process, and the other two began running with their latest victim’s wallet. Hardonk gave chase, and while he lost them when they hopped over a fence, they did drop the wallet, and when the Holland native returned to give it back to the owner, police had already arrived.

“The cops think the same guys robbed three people the week before,” said Hardonk. “I think they were very young guys and they weren’t very secure about what they were doing. I hope it scared them and makes them think twice before they do something like that again.”

As for Hardonk, he won’t think twice about acting if the same thing happened to him or somebody else again.

“Maybe I’m not so smart, just stubborn,” Hardonk laughed. “But I don’t like injustice and I think people should help each other. Maybe more people should do that. Of course, I have a different set of skills than most people, but that doesn’t mean anything if they start shooting.”

For now though, the 33-year old will get back to less stressful pursuits, like training and getting back in shape after his April loss to Cheick Kongo at UFC 97.

“Kongo is a good fighter, and when you make a little mistake, he will take advantage of it, and that’s his quality,” said Hardonk of the bout. “I think we have a similar set of skills, and I truly believe it could have gone either way; it was more about who the best fighter was that night, and that night he was the best fighter. But I’m back in the gym, working hard and working on my weaknesses. There’s still a lot to learn and a lot to improve. But I’m very motivated to get better.”

And when his UFC career is done, he may have a career as a crimefighter.

“Maybe if I quit fighting in the UFC I can buy a costume and run around in the dark,” he jokes, “but I think the cops can do a much better job than I do. I was just there at the right time to help somebody, so it was good.”

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