Townsend Lives Up To Ultimate Promise

UFC News

You can hear it in his voice when asked about the worst period of his life.

“Truthfully, it was very, very hard,” said Townsend. “Previous to me losing my son, I lost my mom about six months prior. And that really f**ked me up. I’m a father of five and even though I love all my boys, Malakye was my baby. I didn’t know what I was gonna do. I really didn’t. I feel like a piece of me was ripped out of my body and I could never get it back. I was drinking every day, I had so much anger and nowhere to channel it. I just wanted to fight.” 

At the time, Lansing’s Townsend was 9-3 as a pro. He was showing glimpses of UFC-level talent, but wasn’t nearly consistent enough to get that call to the big show. That didn’t stop Malakye from looking at his dad like he was Superman.

“He would fall asleep watching me fight on the phone or YouTube,” recalled Townsend, who made a promise to his son as the two spent their final moments together.

“We were in the hospital and I felt his heart beat until it stopped and I promised him that I was gonna make it to the UFC; that I wasn’t gonna stop fighting until I got there,” he said. “That was my number one goal.”

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Three months after the passing of Malakye, Townsend returned to fighting, kicking off a five-fight winning streak that had him getting closer looks, but that run of success was followed by a 1-4 stretch. Again, “The Tarantula” heated up, going 6-1 in his next seven. Frustration began to set in, and in June of last year, he let it out.

“I ranted on my Facebook page,” said Townsend, who had also tried out for The Ultimate Fighter. “I felt I should have got a call a long time ago. I’d seen some people that were getting calls or getting opportunities on the Contender Series that I felt like I should have had. I was in the top five in the country on the regional scene for years. What more did I need to do? I’m not getting younger, I’m only getting older. So when’s my opportunity gonna come? Is it gonna pass me by? Am I getting to be too old?”

A week later, the phone rang. It was an offer to fight Dalcha Lungiambula in the UFC at light heavyweight. In three days. Townsend, who wasn’t planning on fighting until August, had 20 pounds to cut to fight up a division. But he wasn’t about to turn his opportunity down. 

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