Kevin Holland called an internet troll's bluff by choking him out in a grappling match.
Holland, the loquacious UFC fighter nicknamed "Big Mouth," said he had been getting messages on social media for months from a man, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, who claimed he could submit Holland. So Holland took him up on the offer, picked up the cost of some travel expenses and invited the man, whose name is Jayden Parker, into his gym last Saturday.
Over the weekend, Holland posted videos of the match at Travis Lutter Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Fort Worth, Texas. And it didn't appear to go very well for Parker. In the video, Holland can be seen forcing Parker to tap out to a modified D'arce choke on the ground.
"I choked him," Holland told ESPN on Monday.
Holland said Parker had been messaging him on Instagram since last year saying, with coarse language, that he could make Holland tap out. Following a breakout 2020 in which he went 5-0, Holland had a difficult 2021 in the UFC with two losses and a no contest, and his wrestling and grappling skills came under the microscope. Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori, both top middleweights, used their wrestling to ground Holland en route to unanimous decision victories.
But Brunson and Vettori are elite UFC fighters, not random people on social media. Holland said he ultimately agreed to the match in order to teach Parker a lesson. He said he paid for Parker's hotel room in Fort Worth, and bought him dinner -- shrimp fried rice -- on Friday night.
On Saturday, the two had their grappling match. Holland said Parker signed a waiver and Lutter, a former UFC fighter himself, agreed to allow the match to take place. If Parker had submitted Holland, Holland said he would have paid for the entire trip. But that, of course, did not happen. "Bottom line, people were saying things they shouldn't be saying," Holland said. "And they pull up to the gym and they finally get what they deserve. That's just how it goes. Respect is big. Respect the athlete, respect the sport, respect the people that entertain you. Simple as that."
Holland, who is moving down to welterweight for the first time in his UFC career, fights Alex Oliveira at UFC 272 on March 5 in Las Vegas. Holland, who said he has had multiple people challenge him to a fight on social media, said he plans on taking more of them up on their offers.
"If you really want to fight, you want to come test yourself?" Holland said. "I'm down. I like it. I love to fight."
As for Parker, he didn't seem to be humbled at all after being dominated by the UFC fighter, Holland said. ESPN attempted to reach out to Parker, with no immediate response.
"I don't think the kid learned anything, honestly," Holland said. "No, not at all. More so, same old, same. Nothing changed. Still was arrogant, still had an attitude. He left the gym. Who knows what happened after that."
For Holland, though, it felt like a pretty satisfying morning at work.
"I got the opportunity to give a troll a little taste of what we do," Holland said, "and it was pretty cool."