HOUSTON — In a sport of trash-talkers, mixed-martial arts fighter Kevin Holland managed to earn the nickname "Big Mouth," given to him by UFC president Dana White.
But Holland is proving he can walk the talk, and not just in the octagon.
Holland and his training partner, Patrick Robinson, were eating dinner at a sushi restaurant in Houston on Monday night when they heard a gunshot.
The two fighters, who both train in the Fort Worth's Travis Lutter Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, sprung into action, helping take down and disarm the gunman before anyone was hurt.
"We are sitting there eating having a good time," Holland said. "The people behind us, they were having a birthday party."
Robinson talked to photographers who were there early Tuesday morning and also explained what happened. He said he and Holland were eating when "next thing you know, a gunshot just pops off."
First, because of the celebrations around him, Holland said he didn't give the sound he heard a second thought. But when the 40 to 50 people reacted to the same sound, he quickly figured out his assumptions of what he heard were all wrong.
"So, I assumed when I heard the big bang, I assumed it was a champagne bottle popping. So, maybe that is why I wasn't so excited when I turned around," said Holland.
Robinson said, "...everything just paused."
Robinson said most of the restaurant took cover under the tables. But when he and Holland saw one person trying to stop the gunman, they ran in to help.
During the struggle to subdue the gunman, Holland said he was trying to figure out who the bad guy was. He noticed that the man on the bottom of the pile had a gun in his hand and worse, it was pointing in their direction as everyone was taking cover under the tables in the restaurant.
"He was kind of scooting free; things were getting a little out of hand, got in there. We were able to get the gun free pull him into the lap, put on a rear naked choke, get him out of there," said Holland.
"We got him down, apprehended him," Robinson shared too. "Got the gun away from him, and the bag that he had."
Robinson and Holland kept the man down until police arrived, and then officers handcuffed the man.
"We fight for a living," Robinson said. "So that's what we do. Just pretty much took it in our own hands and ran over there and grabbed him before he could shoot anybody else or anybody else could get hurt."
Police thanked their quick actions.
"If it wasn't for the quick thinking of the good Samaritan taking the gun away, who knows what could have happened," HPD Sgt. Ricardo Salas told KHOU. "We're very thankful the citizen helped us out."
Monday night wasn't the first time Holland intervened with a suspect.
According to UFC reporter Ariel Helwani, Holland in October helped chase down and stop someone who was trying to steal a car.
"I am very, very proud of Kevin. Kevin is a great guy," said Travis Lutter.
None of this surprises Lutter, who owns and operates the martial arts gym in Fort Worth where Holland has trained for years. He's trained children, teenagers, women, and men at his gym since the 1990's.
Lutter shared that when he moved to Texas years ago, there was only one black belt in the state. Lutter had earned his blue belt but wanted more. He opened the martial arts gym, which allowed him to continue training and make a living at the same time.
Most of the people he trains now are teens and young adults. However, he has students as young as 4 years old who train at his gym. Holland is one of the students who has earned a lot of respect among other students and fighters.
"Kevin, you know, sees a situation he's going to take care of it," Lutter said. "And that's just kind of the way I think that he is."
Holland also posted about the Monday incident on his Instagram, noting that no one was injured "not even the shooter, just saying."
"I laugh a lot even when things aren't funny," Holland posted. "I smile when I should frown. Super blessed and thankful to see today."
Holland shared that he does not recommend others putting themselves at risk in dangerous situations involving gunfire. He believes part of his reaction was instinct and the fight or flight training he's undergone for years.
Still, instead of being called a hero, he would rather be known as one of the best fighters in the octagon.
"Oh man, no, no, no, just another citizen trying to do the right thing," said Holland.
Holland competes in the welterweight division of UFC, the top level of MMA. He's coming off a big win over Alex Oliveira on March 5, when he won by TKO on the main card at UFC 272.