Abdul Razak Alhassan still struggles with the fallout of sexual assault allegations that dominated his life for the past two years.
The promising welterweight prospect was accused of raping two women in Sept. 2018 after meeting them at the bar where he worked. His trial didn’t begin until nearly two years after the allegations first surfaced, but after several days of testimony and arguments from the prosecution and defense, Alhassan was found not guilty on all charges in March.
While Alhassan is free to resume his fighting career and returns to the octagon on Wednesday at UFC on ESPN 13, he knows the stigma attached to such serious allegations will probably haunt him forever.
“It’s forever changed, because your name can never be the same,” Alhassan said during a virtual media day on Monday. “But for me, life is back to normal. The reason I say that is the past two years life was not normal. The only thing I pretty much did cry, sleep, look at my family. Cry in my sleep without even knowing I was crying and my family would wake me up saying I was crying in my sleep.
“Think about the stress, what was going to happen in the future. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Alhassan always maintained his innocence after the allegations went public.
After meeting the women at the bar, Alhassan drove them to the family home of one of the alleged victims, and he was accused of sexual assaulting them while they were intoxicated. Alhassan admitted to having consensual sex with one of the women while her friend was passed out, but he vehemently denied ever assaulting anyone.
Before the jury found him not guilty, Alhassan’s mind traveled to some very dark places as he contemplated an uncertain future ahead of him. Returning to the UFC at that point was the least of his worries.
“I even doubted if I’d be alive, because I wanted to kill myself,” Alhassan said. “Cause people don’t see what happens in the background. A lot of people who doubt you, or say bad stuff about you when they don’t know the truth, because this is the type of harassment you don’t wish on anybody.
“I sat down and thought about it. I have two kids. I have a girl and I have a boy. What would happen to them if I took myself out? Because of some evil people. But like I said I have proved my innocence and I proved that they will never amount to anything and God will always figure out and show the truth. But I learned so much from it.”
From thoughts of self-harm to contemplation of vengeance, Alhassan said he was consumed by sadness, doubt and rage as he waited for his day in court.
“I’m a good person – I’d never do what they said I did,” Alhassan said. “It got to a point where I ask myself why is God letting evil people like that live? Because if I didn’t do something like that to you, why? You would think the person would realize and come and be like, ‘Hey, what I’m doing to this person is wrong, he didn’t do what I said he did, I did a mistake.’ but no, they were not coming out.
“I thought about revenge. If I tell you I didn’t, I’m lying. I thought about all the revenge in this world I can to take revenge. Because they really got to feel the pain that they put me through. They are out there stripping, not caring what they are doing to me. Having life, putting stuff on social media. They’re happy, throwing alcohol while I’m home crying everyday, can’t even take care of my kids. I have so much anger. I know it’s behind me now, but I really hope God takes some huge revenge on these girls. I really hope they get what they deserve.”
After the allegations were first made and charges filed, Alhassan said he lost all interest in training or fighting, because at that point, he was literally trying to save his own life.
“I would never wish this on even my worst enemy – never,” Alhassan said.
Now four months removed from his trial, the 34-year-old fighter is ready to resume his career in the UFC as he prepares for an opponent for the first time since knocking out Niko Price in 2018.
Considering all he’s gone through, Alhassan truly appreciates the opportunity to be back in the UFC and pursue his passion for MMA after everything was nearly taken away. He faces newcomer Mounir Lazzez in the opening fight on the main card at UFC on ESPN 13 this Wednesday night from Abu Dhabi.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “When you go through some stuff like that and not knowing where your life is going, all you think about is negativity in your head, stress, that’s stressful.
“For God to help you through all of this and to prove your innocence and getting back to what you love. It’s amazing in so many different ways that I can be here today.”