(Two years after this fight, Dennis Hallman would show up to UFC 133 wearing baby-blue man-panties. Crazy. It’s like everybody John Howard meets turns into one of humanity’s greatest villains. / Photo via Sherdog)
John Howard is the former UFC fighter best known for knocking out Dennis Hallman and Daniel Roberts, and getting his eye blown up by Jake Ellenberger. Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the thankfully-dead Boston Marathon bombing mastermind who was formerly a regular at Wai Kru MMA in Boston, where he trained as a boxer. As “Doomsday” explained during an appearance on Sherdog’s Beatdown radio show on Monday, Howard and Tsarnaev were occasional training partners at the gym, which didn’t work out so well for the future murderer:
“The reason why he trained at my gym was because he was a good boxer. He wanted a good sparring partner, and most gyms he went to, a lot of guys couldn’t hang with his boxing. He was beating guys up. The reason why he came to Wai Kru was because you had me as a UFC fighter and you had other good strikers there who weren’t scared to take a beating or give one. That’s how I knew him.
“One day we was sparring and it got a little too physical. Me being an MMA fighter and him being a boxer, it was like a little rivalry thing and we were boxing and we kind of went kind of hard one time. I give him credit. He was a good boxer, but because of the power I possess, I could put anybody down, I believe. What happened was, he got a little cocky. He was touching me up. He was getting the best of me. We went at it, and I caught him with my left hook, my famous left hook, and broke his nose. When I broke his nose, he covered his face. His body was open, so I turned my angle and I hit him with a body shot — with my right hand, a body shot, and I dropped him. That was the end of the sparring match…
I did feel kind of bad. I was like, ‘Man, I went too far.’ But ever since the tragedy happened, I don’t feel bad. The only thing I regret is I didn’t keep hitting him and choke him out and put him out of his misery.”
Since being released by the UFC in June 2011 following a three-fight losing streak, Howard has gone 6-0, competing mostly in Rhode Island for the CES MMA promotion, where he is currently the middleweight champion. Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s brother Dzhokar is currently awaiting trial while proclaiming his innocence.