Roger Huerta has never been known to be a fighter who craved the spotlight. If you've ever talked to him, you would quickly realize that he is that rare, shy athlete, who generally feels uncomfortable talking about himself.
That's the way he was when he became the first MMA fighter to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and certainly the way he has been since he became a TMZ star last month.
In early August, a video surfaced of Huerta knocking out another man on the street after the man knocked out a young woman outside a bar in Austin, TX. When TMZ released a video of the street fight, Huerta instantly became the talk of the MMA world once again, but also the talk of the gossip world.
No one heard from Huerta again until he showed up on a TMZ live stream to discuss the incident.
It was clear from the beginning of the stream, taped at the TMZ offices, that Huerta would have rather been anywhere but there, talking about a fight he just wanted to forget.
"Man, it was very weird for me," Huerta said on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour. "Really strange. To be honest, I didn't want to go [to TMZ], but everybody was, like, 'Maybe you should. You have nothing to hide.' Well, I don't. So it kind of happened like that. But at the same it was very, very weird, man."
Amazingly, everyone from Arianny Celeste to Josh Barnett to his former boss Dana White publicly supported Huerta's actions after the fact, a reaction that touched the 27-year-old.
"I was really thankful, to be honest. It could have gone either way, I guess, but then again, if you look at things correctly, you don't do that. You don't fully cloak a girl behind the head, and especially if you're three times the size of her, and they say he was, like, an NFL player. They say he could have potentially killed the girl."
In fact, multiple outlets reported after the incident that the attacker was former University of Texas football player Rashad Bobino.
Huerta said he has never heard from Bobino or the woman since the incident, although he periodically receives e-mails from different women claiming to be the victim while thanking him for his good deed.
Thankfully for the former UFC fighter, who is getting set to face Eddie Alvarez in a non-title fight at Bellator 33 on October 21, he can officially put the incident behind because no charges will be filed.
"I believe the case is closed. The guy never came forward or pressed any charges, and it kinda is left at that."
Until this incident occurred, Huerta's lasting legacy, at least outside the hardcore MMA community, may have been his SI cover. But he does recognize that this unfortunate incident caught on tape may be the one moment that will follow him forever.
"I think TMZ," Huerta replied when asked if he thinks he will remembered more for the SI cover of his TMZ fame. "Everybody watches that, I guess, huh? I don't know, man. I've always wanted to be recognized for me. That's what I do in the ring as a performer. You know, just trying to be one of the best fighters in the world. Hopefully, that ends up taking over instead of all this other stuff."
Regardless, Huerta is ready to move on.
"It happened. Would have I done it again if I saw the same thing? Of course. I never expected for any of this to come out the way it came out. I'm no hero, man. I just feel like I did the right thing."
(Ed. note: Watch Monday's episode of The MMA Hour below. The Huerta interview begins at the 1:00 mark.)
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