UFC Heavyweight fighter Tai Tuivasa opened up about his struggles of losing a dear friend in 2019. Daniel King, a bodybuilder, suffered from some mental turmoil due to the consumption of drugs. This led to his eventual death at the hands of the police as he opened fire at them. King was a close friend of Tuivasa, who believed his death was a suicide.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Tuivasa said, “My friend got (killed) by the cops. It was a rough patch for me.
“I’ve lost a lot of people I looked up to due to losing their mental strength and drugs and whatever else. I watched a person I know get gunned down.
“He was going through his own struggles, he had some things on his plate and he wasn’t in the right.
“You can’t go and shoot at coppers and think they’re not going to shoot you back. I think it was suicide by…whatever you call it.
“But he was in a group of my older people and they’ve all kind of gone off the rails.”
October 5, 2019
via Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke)
Round 2 3:14 pic.twitter.com/79LDJgmV4J
— Ocelot MMA (@Ocelot_MMA) August 29, 2023
King died just days before Tuivasa faced Sergey Spivak at UFC 243. The Australian fighter lost that bout via a technical submission. At that point, it was his third loss in a row. After attaining a 9-0 record in professional MMA, Tuivasa lost three matches continuously just before the pandemic struck.
“I’ve learned a lot, through everything,” he says. “My streak of losses, it could’ve been for other reasons.
“Underlying reasons and outside influences. But I’ve grown and I’ve learned since those days, you’ve just gotta be strong in your mind.”
His comeback was remarkable. He pulled off a five-match winning streak that included three ‘Performance of the Night’ awards.
Tai Tuivasa hopes to turn around his fortunes at UFC 293 against Alexander Volkov
Tuivasa faced losses against Ciryl Gane and Sergei Pavlovich in his last two fights. He is set to face Alexander Volkov at UFC 293 on September 10, 2023. Tuivasa hopes to bag the win in his hometown as UFC 293 takes place in Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, Australia.
This Saturday Down Under at #UFC293!
🏆 Israel Adesanya vs Sean Strickland
👊 Tai Tuivasa vs Alexander Volkov pic.twitter.com/idJbMRq5j0
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) September 4, 2023
“It’s been hard, but we get through it,” he said. “I’m from Western Sydney, we’re resilient, we’re built from different things.
“I am on a two-loss streak, so this is my only thought right now – just moving forward.
“I’m fighting at home too, so I’ve gotta do something big.”
His last UFC bout in the same arena was against Rashad Coulter on November 19, 2017. He won that fight via a KO (flying kick). Volkov, on the other hand, is an experienced fighter with a professional MMA record of 36-10. The Russian’s last bout was against Alexander Romanov in March. He won that fight via a TKO (punches).
If all goes to plan for the Aussie Tai Tuivasa, it is reported that he can expect a title fight at any point in the coming 12 months.