UFC Bouts Are Child's Play for Alexander

A single father of six, Houston Alexander, left, knocked out Keith
A single father of six, Houston Alexander, left, knocked out Keith "Dean of Mean" Jardine at UFC 71 in May. (Ufc)
By Ryan Mink
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, November 17, 2007

Houston Alexander had just knocked out Keith "Dean of Mean" Jardine, when Alexander leaned over Jardine's limp body and screamed, "Get up!"

The tone might be different, but Alexander certainly is familiar with the phrase. The single father of six grumbles it at his children every morning.

The 35-year old Omaha native has raised his children by himself for the past seven years but only recently has become one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's most exciting knockout artists.

In only two fights in the UFC, Alexander has knocked out his opponents in a combined 1 minute 49 seconds. Tonight, Alexander (8-1 overall in mixed martial arts bouts) will take on Thiago Silva (11-0) in UFC 78 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

And while it might seem strange that this knockout artist doubles as Mr. Mom, Alexander says his success in the cage is because of his kids.

"I'm out there fighting with fury in the ring because I want to be safe and I want to give back to my kids," he said. "I have to prevent [my opponent] from hurting me, because if they hurt me, I feel they are trying to keep me from my kids."

Alexander's typical day starts at 5:30 a.m., when he wakes up, sneaks out of the house and goes to the gym for two hours. He drives back, rustles up the children, ages 5 to 16, and gets ready to take them to three different schools in his Pontiac. Then he returns home for chores.

"I'm a big fan of washing clothes," Alexander said. "I like the April freshness."

The greatest gift Alexander has given his children was literally part of himself. He donated one of his kidneys to his oldest daughter in 2000 and claims to have spent just two days in the hospital because he had to get back to work.

"I think it definitely put my priorities in order," Alexander said. "Having kids in general, you have a whole different outlook on life. It sets your priorities for you."

Alexander promotes himself as an everyman fighter, exactly the type that UFC President Dana White has tried to use to combat the gladiator image with which his organization is so often branded. Alexander got into mixed martial arts seven years ago when a friend dared him to take on a local fighter who couldn't be beaten.

Alexander won that fight and has been hooked since. Soon after, he quit his day job as a construction worker to focus on training and pursue his other passion as a DJ for a local radio station in Omaha, where he primarily plays independent hip-hop music on Sundays to a growing fan base.

But his fans need not be worried that the man called "Daddy" in his home, "DJ Scrib" in the booth and the "Nebraskan Assassin" in the cage is going to turn into anything other than his favorite title, "a regular guy."

"Just because I'm on TV doesn't mean I should change up," Alexander said. "This is all really exciting for me. People want to see how I turn out."

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