Biography

Harold Clarence Howard is a Richmond Hill native of Canada. Howard gravitated to security jobs in bars and taught martial arts. By age 19 he was the top guard at the Black Hawk Down Motor Inn. Howard won the 1984 World Heavyweight Jiu Jitsu Championship and became a 3-time Canada Karate Champion. With a background in point-fighting, Howard never competed in full-contact competition. His successes as a kick-boxer caught the attention of Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), then owner of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which began promoting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights in 1993. In 1994, a SEG employee was sent to Howard's home in Niagara Falls with an invitation to compete. Howard was busy teaching in Michigan, resulting in his wife accepting for him.

In the 1980s, Howard developed an addiction to medication he had used for back pains and later had surgery. Intrigued by MMA, which was a new sport in North America, Howard agreed to compete at UFC 3: The American Dream (1994) where he made an impression in a pre-fight promotional video: "We have a saying back home that if you're coming on, come on!" Howard was undaunted when he found out that his opponent , Muay Thai fighter Roland Payne, had more experience than him in full contact fighting. Payne got a quick take-down which Howard stood up from, and Payne secured two more take-downs which Howard reversed. They stood up and Payne landed a knee then two body kicks. Howard connected with a succession of five punches to Payne's face and one more on the ground to win by knockout. Howard was eager to fight two-time Ultimate Fighting Champion Royce Gracie in a semi-final bout, however Gracie was injured from a demanding win over Kimo Leopoldo. Gracie and his team came to the octagon cage where Howard was waiting, then forfeited the match. Howard advanced to the finals where he was scheduled against Ken Shamrock for the title of UFC Champion. Shamrock had sought revenge against Gracie from UFC 1: The Beginning (1993). Physically hurt from two previous bouts, Shamrock declined to continue after Gracie's exit from the tournament. Howard went to the finals of UFC 3 with one win. Alternate fighter Steve Jennum was brought in without fighting beforehand. Howard connected with a right-hand. Jennum, who had some ground-fighting experience, pushed Howard to the cage. Howard locked on a guillotine choke and was taken down. Jennum escaped and landed punches on Howard when they stood up. Howard fell from Jennum's leg trip. Howard raised his hands to defend from Jennum whom had a full mount, then tapped the mat in submission about the same his corner threw in two towels.

Howard did not compete again until his match with Mark Hall at UFC VII: Brawl in Buffalo (1995). Howard grabbed Hall and punched him with right hands then a leg trip to the ground. Howard was briefly on top until Hall immediately reversed the position. Hall attacked with punches and bloodied Howard's mouth. Howard raised his arms and crossed them to submit in under two minutes. Howard's last bout was for the Universal Vale Tudo Heavyweight Championship in 1996. Hugo Duarte ran in and took him down. Howard's left hand was caught outside the ropes and could not defend against Duarte's punches, resulting in him using his right hand to tap the mat in 30 seconds.

Howard resumed life outside of competition as a martial arts instructor at his school, Howard Self-Defense Systems, and repairing roofs. Pain issues reemerged in 1997 when he was hit by a drunken driver while waiting in a line at Ontario Place, an amusement park. The severity of the accident made him take medicine for inflammation, pain, and sleeping. Howard unsuccessfully sued for 7 years in a costly process which almost made him lose his home. Further problems started in October 2009, according to his former wife. Howard, whom resided in Niagara Falls, became paranoid and attacked her. Howard stayed with his sister after he was arrested and released. That December, Howard made an unexpected visit to the offices of the "Toronto Star" newspaper, saying incoherent things. Almost two weeks later he attacked his sister and her son with a hammer, resulting in a broken finger and large cuts among them. Howard's nephew fought back and Howard left for his former home. Howard drove his truck into a hedge and a car parked in a driveway. After a confrontation with his son and and son's mother, Howard drove away and later crashed into the walls of Niagara Fallsview Casino. Howard was arrested and later said he had no memory of the incidents. There were a multitude charges against him: two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a weapon, attempted break and enter, failure to remain, flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, mischief and two counts breach of recognizance. In April 2010 he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, aggravated assault, and assault causing bodily harm. Howard was sentenced to 5 years of incarceration.