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Thread: Busted MMA fighters and fights

  1. #151
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    I caught this article again on front of Sunday's NYT Sport section

    I must say that the online presentation was much more engaging because of the graphics. Thanks for the heads up here, MightyB.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #152
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    Needed some room...

    Way to ruin someone's nuptials....
    Mixed martial arts fighter charged after Tacoma wedding reception fracas
    Published: October 23, 2013
    By ADAM LYNN — Staff writer

    A drunken mixed martial arts fighter who needed “some room” allegedly slugged a uniformed federal law enforcement officer during a wedding reception at Tacoma’s Union Station this summer, court records show.

    The fighter, 28-year-old Jordan Michael Hillis, also is accused of hitting another man at the reception.

    Pierce County prosecutors charged Hillis this week with one count each of third-degree assault and fourth-degree assault.

    He has yet to be arraigned.

    The assaults are alleged to have occurred on July 14.

    An inspector for Homeland Security told investigators he was working after-hours security at Union Station during a wedding reception when he saw Hillis rip off his shirt and begin punching another man. It was about midnight, and Hillis had been making rude comments in the hours up to the attack, the inspector said.

    The inspector said he tried to grab Hillis by the arm “and next recalls looking up with Hillis over him,” court records show.

    The inspector and a private security guard then chased Hillis outside and down the street, but he allegedly knocked the inspector down again and fled, the records show.

    A federal agent later contacted Hillis at his parents’ home.

    He told the agent he was at the reception (his girlfriend was in the wedding party) and had consumed a large amount of alcohol that day.

    “At one point, an individual approached him too close, and he eventually slapped him in the face with an open hand,” the records show.

    Hillis allegedly told the agent he was trying to leave when he was approached by a security officer.

    “Hillis also struck him with an open palm because he needed some room,” the records show. “Hillis notes he is trained as a mixed martial arts fighter. He states he did not intend to hurt anyone and that is why he never used a closed fist.”

    Witnesses said otherwise, describing how Hillis hit both the first man then the inspector with his fists.

    The website mixedmartialarts.com shows Hillis fought a bout in Vancouver, Wash., in April, knocking out his opponent in the first round of what was scheduled to be a three-round bout. No other information on his fighting record was listed.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #153
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    Lolz

    Lolz,
    Well I heard somebody say once that the drunk/violent MMA guys are the wannabe's and that the higher level MMA's- those that endure & excel- have values and respect, like any other martial artist- and that is totally true.
    It is funny how the guy in the article said he used a open palm instead of a closed fist b/c he did not want to hurt anybody. Either he was BS'ing or he doesn't really know any good open palm techniques which wouldn't surprise me.
    As Kung Fu people we know open palm can be just as devastating, maybe in some techniques more so, than a closed fist. This hints that kung fu training has a lot of variety to offer.

  4. #154
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    Well, this is ambiguous

    Police arrest mixed martial arts fighter in Tacoma for alleged assault
    Published: October 27, 2013
    By ALEXIS KRELL — Staff writer

    Tacoma officers arrested a mixed martial arts fighter about 2 a.m. on suspicion of second-degree assault, police said Sunday.

    Two men got into an argument in the 1300 block of Broadway, according to Tacoma police, and the trained fighter allegedly assaulted and injured the other man, who was taken to the hospital for wounds that were not life-threatening. Those included momentary unconsciousness and some knocked-out teeth, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

    Police booked the suspect into Pierce County Jail.
    I'm glad the news is making the distinction between 'mixed martial artist' and 'martial artist' in these assault cases. There's something significant in this, but I'm not quite sure what yet.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #155
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    I'm glad the news is making the distinction between 'mixed martial artist' and 'martial artist' in these assault cases. There's something significant in this, but I'm not quite sure what yet.
    When cops comes by to interview both parties, witnesses, etc. they would fish for things as they know people will lie like crazy. They would also ask if you train MA or whatever, and probably this dummy proudly said, "MMA", so it goes on the cop's report and the news media includes it. This may be a standard question now, as Prosecutors seems to be actively trying to convict those who are trained beating on dumb-dumbs in the streets. Like if you beat the crap out of someone, then it's harder to claim self defense. So whether he said MMA or TMA, it's still bad for him as the winner of the fight if the other guy is badly busted up and w/no teeth left.

    This is where you state that it was self defense....my head hurts so I can't answer questions now.....and I'd only feel comfortable doing so with an attorney present.

  6. #156
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    Aw man...

    This sounds like some B grade movie villains.
    Feds Say MMA Fighters Used to Collect Poker Debts: Report
    Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 | Updated 10:00 AM EST

    A pair of men who pleaded guilty to charges in a $100 million gambling ring allegedly used mixed martial arts fighters to collect a debt from a poker player, federal prosecutors say.

    Kirill Rapoport, 41, and Arthur Azen, 44, were among the 30 people arrested in April in the operation with ties to the Russian Mafia, according to the Daily News. Both men pleaded guilty to federal crimes for their roles in the ring.

    In a letter for Rapoport’s sentencing hearing Thursday, prosecutors contended that Rapoport and Azen were collectors who used MMA fighters on at least one occasion to scare gamblers into paying debts, the News reports.

    “On Oct. 5, 2012, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents observed the defendant, Azen and two mixed martial arts fighters go to meet with a player in Azen’s poker games, who based on earlier interceptions appeared to be delinquent in paying Azen’s debts,” the letter said.

    According to the letter, FBI agents had to arrange for the NYPD to intervene because they were afraid Rapoport, Azen and the MMA fighters would hurt the gambler, who owed Azen $35,000 to $40,000 in gambling debts.

    According to the News, Rapoport faces up to five years behind bars. His plea deal calls for six to 12 months in prison for running poker games in Manhattan.

    “The defendant’s role in the offense was serious. He was not a dealer or a bartender,” the letter said. “His job was to make sure that bettors at Azen’s illegal poker games and bettors of Azen’s sports book paid their debts.”

    Azen pleaded guilty last month to money laundering conspiracy and extortionate credit collection.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #157
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    Undisputed 5: Bookkeeper's Rage
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    "Who dies first," he mumbled through smashed and bloody lips.

  8. #158
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    Tito DUI

    Tito Ortiz -- ARRESTED FOR DUI
    1/6/2014 8:49 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
    Exclusive Details


    Ex-UFC fighter Tito Ortiz was arrested for DUI in L.A. this morning after crashing his Porsche on the 405 Freeway ... TMZ Sports has learned.

    Law enforcement sources tell us ... the 38-year-old crashed his 2012 Porsche Panamera into a concrete median around 4AM.

    Cops performed field sobriety tests on Tito ... and we're told he blew a .12 on the breathalyzer ... more than .08 legal limit in California.

    We're told Tito had two passengers in his car at the time of the crash.

    Earlier in the evening, Tito was partying at a BCS Football party at the Playboy Mansion.

    Ortiz was hauled to a nearby station where he was booked and bond was set at $15k.

    Tito was released on his own recognizance at 8:14 AM.
    MMA Fighter Tito Ortiz Posts Bail After Arrest on Suspicion of DUI
    24 mins ago
    by Ann Pride
    Web Producer

    Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Tito Ortiz posted bail Monday following his arrest in West Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities said.

    Ortiz, 38, was taken into custody around 4:30 a.m. after a single-car collision on the 405 Freeway, the California Highway Patrol said in a press release.

    He posted $15,000 bail a few hours later, and was released at 8:13 a.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.


    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 28: Tito Ortiz appears at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on May 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images for GQ)

    The popular athlete, whose birth name is Jacob Christopher Ortiz, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI near Sepulveda and Santa Monica boulevards, the CHP said.

    “Ortiz was driving northbound on the I-405 when he lost control of his vehicle and struck the concrete center median,” the press release said.

    He was in a 2012 Porsche Panamera and had two passengers in the car with him, according to the CHP.

    The vehicle was moderately damaged, and no one was injured, the CHP said.

    “He was transported to LAPD-77th Division for medical clearance and chemical testing and was booked without incident,” the CHP said.

    Ortiz is a native of Huntington Beach, and a former Light-Heavyweight UFC champion, according to his website.
    Bummer. At least no one was hurt.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #159
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    Another UFC fighter

    Mixed martial arts fighter found guilty of domestic violence
    By Cathy Locke
    clocke@sacbee.com
    Published: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 - 6:35 pm

    A professional mixed martial arts fighter has been convicted by a Sacramento County jury in a domestic violence case.

    Kyacey Uscola on Friday was found guilty of battery on a spouse or cohabitant, battery with serious bodily injury and corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release. The jury also found true that Uscola personally inflicted great bodily injury upon the victim under circumstances involving domestic violence and that he has a prior domestic violence conviction.

    Uscola, 32, is a professionally trained mixed martial arts specialist who has fought several professional fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. On June 15, 2013, he assaulted the mother of his child, causing her to suffer significant injuries, including a punctured lung, eight broken ribs, two lumbar fractures, an orbital fracture and a life-threatening pancreas laceration, authorities said.

    Uscola is to be sentenced Feb. 14 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette.
    TUF really opens up the window for drama....
    Gene Ching
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  10. #160
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    An MMA coach

    February 4, 2014
    Beverly martial arts teacher held in attacks on girlfriend
    By Julie Manganis
    STAFF WRITER



    SALEM — Her parents knew something was wrong when they would get responses to their text messages that didn’t sound like their daughter.

    But for months, the 27-year-old Gloucester woman insisted that things were fine with her new boyfriend, with whom she was now living in Salem.

    Then, last month, she returned home, with just the clothing on her back and disfiguring injuries that made her almost unrecognizable and in need of reconstructive surgery.

    The man who did that to her, police say, is Joseph Louf, 37, of 171 North St., Salem, the owner of the American Total Defense mixed martial arts gym in Beverly.

    Louf was arrested Friday and held in custody over the weekend. He was arraigned yesterday in Salem District Court on charges that include attempted murder and aggravated assault and battery. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

    He will be back in court today for a hearing to determine whether he poses too great a danger to the woman or others if released. In the meantime, Judge Matthew Machera ordered that he remain in custody.

    The charges stem from an investigation that started last fall, when the young woman’s parents went to police with their concerns. They had learned from a relative about Louf’s “controlling and violent past,” prosecutor Lindsay Shaheen told the judge yesterday. They were also concerned about the lack of contact they had with their daughter.

    A few months later, Salem police Detective Kathleen Rocheville got another call, telling her that the young woman had returned home about a week earlier, on Jan. 7. She had told them little, other than that she was “lucky to be alive.”

    The young woman, once a nursing assistant at Beverly Hospital, was suffering from two detatched retinas.

    Her face, Rocheville noted in her report, “has been completely transformed.”

    She had “cauliflower” ears, a nose that had been broken multiple times, a small piece of her lip missing, broken teeth, and scars, bruises and bumps all over her body and under her hair.

    The fingers on one hand were broken, and she needed help walking when Rocheville spoke to her on Jan. 14.

    But she continued to insist that the injuries were the result of mixed martial arts fighting.

    Then, late last month, she admitted that she’d never been in an MMA fight.

    During a second interview with Rocheville, she detailed numerous beatings, strangulations, and incidents in which she was made to engage in strenuous acts for long periods.

    The woman had met Louf on Match, a dating website, and the two had spoken on the phone for weeks, until she joined his gym in the spring of 2012.

    Soon, she had moved to his apartment. His controlling behavior escalated, she told the officer. He controlled her phone and her social media pages, and would respond to messages for her.

    By the winter, she told police, she was suffering daily beatings, including beatings while she was pregnant. One of the beatings left her with broken teeth.

    When her co-workers at Beverly Hospital, where she worked as a nursing assistant, asked her about her injuries, she told them she was doing mixed martial arts fighting. She eventually lost that job. Later, she worked at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Beverly, where, she said, any money she made she was forced to turn over to Louf.

    One customer there was so alarmed by her appearance that she gave the young woman a brochure for Healing Abuse, Working for Change (HAWC), a Salem program for victims of domestic abuse.

    Her injuries also caught the attention of at least one parent whose child studied at Louf’s studio; when the young woman showed up with massive swelling in her legs following an incident in which Louf sat on her chest until she heard a crack, the parent pulled her child out of the class.

    In December, she told Rocheville, she was beaten so severely that both of her eyes swelled shut.

    During another beating, her cheek was split; Louf later punched her and caused all of the stitches to break, she said.

    Louf allegedly stabbed her ears with scissors, and delivered “body shots” to her as she washed dishes, sending her into a cabinet. He allegedly also put her into chokeholds until she passed out.

    And she told police that Louf had broken and then tried to “reset” her nose multiple times.

    When she bled, she said, Louf would force her to clean up her blood and beat her again.

    As Shaheen read details from the police report, onlookers in the courtroom who had no connection to the case could be heard gasping.

    Louf will remain in custody at least through today’s hearing.

    Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.
    Pretty freakin harsh.
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  11. #161
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    Thiago Silva

    There's a vid report if you follow the link.
    Thiago Silva faces battery charge
    Updated: February 7, 2014, 1:50 PM ET
    By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

    UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva was arrested late Thursday after he barricaded himself inside his residence in South Florida, according to reports.


    Thiago Silva was arrested Thursday after barricading himself inside his home, according to reports.

    Thiago was jailed in Broward County and charged with aggravated battery and resisting an officer, the Sun-Sentinel reported, citing jail records.

    Multiple local news affiliates reported Silva, 31, was involved in an altercation at Pablo Popovitch Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Oakland Park, Fla., on Thursday evening. According to reports, Silva was armed during the incident.

    The Brazilian fighter reportedly left the scene and fled to his residence on Coral Heights Boulevard in neighboring Fort Lauderdale. Public records confirmed Silva as the property owner.

    Broward Sheriff's Office officials told multiple media outlets that a suspect was apprehended after a SWAT team set up a perimeter around the residence, but the officials did not identify the suspect.

    No one was harmed at the school or Silva's residence, according to reports.

    The UFC released a statement regarding Silva's arrest Thursday.

    "This evening, we were made aware of a situation involving Thiago Silva," the statement read. "We are in the process of gathering the facts and have no further comment at this time."

    Silva (16-3) has fought for the UFC since 2007. He is scheduled to meet Ovince St. Preux at UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #162
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    Jessica Eye

    Cannabinoids...hmmpf. At least she wasn't beating up her sig O.

    Mixed Martial Arts - How Eye's failed test should have been handled
    Kevin Iole explains how the UFC, Texas, and Jessica Eye made her positive drug test even worse.
    By Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports | Eurosport – 21 hours ago


    Eurosport - Jessica Eye (USA Today)

    The furore that now envelops Jessica Eye, one that has reached to the highest levels of the UFC and the Nevada Athletic Commission, is one that should have been easily dealt with months ago.

    Eye tested positive for marijuana following her Oct. 19 split-decision victory over Sarah Kaufmann at the Toyota Center in Houston at UFC 166. It was a rousing UFC debut for Eye and she seemed to have a bright future.

    But now, her win has been changed to a no contest and her integrity is being questioned.

    Nothing would have or should have changed when the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation notified Eye on Nov. 26 that her test result had come back positive for cannabinoids.

    Texas law values secrecy over the public's right to know, and so Texas did not release the positive test result when it received it. Had it done so, most people would not have paid much attention and Eye would be training for her UFC 170 bout on Feb. 22 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas without a cloud hanging over her head.

    There is no reason for any state athletic commission to hold such information private. The test was ordered by the state at a state-regulated event. The public clearly has a right to know which, if any, athletes are violating the rules.

    The fighters sign away their medical privacy rights when they apply for a privileged license such as a fight license.

    Texas, though, did not release the information. And nor did the UFC. The UFC made a very weak statement on Feb. 5, which basically said nothing other than that Eye would fight as scheduled.

    The UFC's full statement, which was not attributed to any person, read, "The UFC received word of the fully probated suspension and fine issued to Jessica Eye by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The UFC intends to honor the probation, which will not force Eye to miss her scheduled bout at UFC 170."

    Yahoo Sports spoke briefly with UFC president Dana White on Monday, five days after the statement was released. In response to a call from Yahoo Sports looking for information on Eye's situation, White said, "I'm just being made aware of this now."

    He then said he was planning to call Eye.

    The UFC had an interest in clearing this up because it wants (or should want) to remove the stigma that it condones fighters failing drug tests or using performance-enhancing drugs.

    When former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre said the lack of strenuous drug testing in the UFC hastened his decision to take a sabbatical, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta claimed otherwise.

    After Yahoo Sports first published a story on St-Pierre's comments, Fertitta phoned back and made further comments, going ****her in an anti-drug testing stance than he'd ever gone before.

    He said the UFC had offered to pay for any and all additional drug screens that the Nevada Athletic Commission wanted for St-Pierre's bout with Johny Hendricks.

    Even more, Fertitta told Yahoo Sports that the UFC embraces regulation and has told commissions that it would pay to have any fighter it has under contract tested at any time. He said that offer would include as many fighters as the commission would want and said it would cover any test, including Carbon Isotope Ratio testing.

    Yahoo Sports contacted Francisco Aguilar, the new chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, who said Fertitta had indeed made such an offer.

    "The UFC has been phenomenal to work with in regard to the enhanced testing of the athletes we're looking to do," Aguilar said. "All that has ever been communicated to us from Lorenzo, Lawrence [Epstein, the UFC's chief operating office] and Marc [Ratner, its vice president of regulatory affairs] is that they're in favour of testing.

    "At no point has the UFC ever pushed back on any testing request we've made. We just did an enhanced testing program with Travis Browne and Josh Barnett for their fight [in December at UFC 168] and the UFC was fully supportive and did what we asked.

    "Not only haven't they pushed back, they've been the opposite. They've told us they've been open to any and all testing and would gladly pay for whatever tests we wanted to do."

    Rarely, though, does the UFC speak out that strongly in favour of drug testing and against PED usage. In the Eye situation, it was a minor situation that most people don't even regard as a problem.

    Instead of offering a vague statement that did nothing to clarify the situation, the UFC should have been more transparent and gotten in front of this issue.

    The biggest culprit, though, is Eye. She taunted reporters looking into the issue via her Twitter account and during an interview on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour on Monday, she blatantly lied in an answer to one question and was deceptive in her answers about others.

    At the 1:11:54 mark, Helwani asks, "So, let's figure this out. When did you find out that the Texas Commission had an issue with you stemming from your fight at UFC 166? How did they notify you of this?"

    According to documents in this report by Damon Martin of Fox Sports, Eye was notified by the Texas commission of her positive test result on Nov. 26. She signed a settlement order, agreeing to a small fine and a one-year probation, sometime on or before Jan. 15, 2014. Eye signed but didn't date the document; however, Texas officials stamped it as received on Jan. 15, 2014.

    That was more than two weeks before reports began to surface that she'd failed a drug test.

    Yet, Eye's answer to Helwani was different. She said, "Well, they didn't notify me. I found out the same way you guys did, so I had no idea until that Saturday afternoon [presumably meaning Feb. 1 when reports began coming out]."

    Later in the interview, Eye said, "I've never done things that other people wanted me to do. Just because everybody else wants to hear things out of my mouth, or wants me to say certain things,

    "I'm not going to do it because it will make other people feel better or will give them fuel. That's not how I work, man. I work under my terms, not other people's."

    That prompted Helwani to directly ask if she'd tested positive for marijuana. Helwani referred to a report on Bloody Elbow that noted sources said her positive test was for marijuana.

    Helwani asked, "You're denying that, right?" And Eye said, "Yes." Later, Eye said she was already licensed in Nevada, which is also untrue. It may soon become true, but Nevada required her to pass a drug screen.

    The screen was received at the commission office Monday, but it hasn't been acted upon. So Eye is not a Nevada licensee.

    The sad thing is, this is all minutiae considering the personal tragedy Eye is dealing with. Her father recently had a baseball-sized tumor removed from his brain.

    She's not the first athlete, nor will she be the last, who flat lied to a reporter's direct question.

    But in this case, by not telling the truth, Eye made her situation vastly worse.

    This whole issue should have been avoided, and pressure should be put on states like Texas that don't release such information to change their laws and commission regulations to support openness.

    In the grand scheme of things, unless there is more to the story than there appears to be, the Eye situation is no big deal. It was blown out of proportion due to a bad law and some bad decisions.

    All fighters, as well as UFC officials, should go to school on this one.
    Gene Ching
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  13. #163
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    Mike Stidham

    ....or maybe not.

    Assault at a strip club, though. Srsly?

    Convicted Utah martial arts fight promoter wins hearing

    He will try to show that his lawyer had conflict of interest in his trial for assault at strip club.
    By Marissa lang
    | The Salt Lake Tribune
    First Published Feb 13 2014 05:59 pm • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 12:29 am

    Mixed martial arts fight promoter Mike Stidham, who three years ago was found guilty of assault, may be entitled to a new trial, and a chance to reverse his conviction, if a judge finds his lawyer had a conflict of interest.

    On Thursday, the Utah Court of Appeals ruled that Stidham is entitled to a hearing at which he would attempt to demonstrate that the lawyer who represented him through his December 2013 trial had a conflict because the lawyer also represented Stidham’s co-defendant.

    According to the appeals court, a conflict seemed likely from the outset of the case.

    "The fact that the court previously and repeatedly felt the need to inquire about the possibility of a conflict suggests the court’s contemporaneous recognition of the distinct possibility that a conflict existed or could arise," the appeals court ruled. "The interests of justice would have been better served had the court considered [Stidham]’s motion for a new trial ... through an evidentiary hearing."

    In a written ruling, the high court reprimanded 3rd District Judge Ann Boyden for declining to grant Stidham an evidentiary hearing, in which he would put on evidence to show he was not given a fair trial because of his lawyer.

    The appellate court ordered Stidham be given such a hearing.

    If the fight promoter is successful, he could be headed back to trial.

    Stidham, who went to trial, was sentenced in March 2011 to 30 days in jail and 70 hours of community service for assaulting a bouncer at a strip club.

    His co-defendant, Salvador Sanchez, 28, who pleaded guilty, received the same sentence. But Sanchez received credit for six days in jail he already served.

    Both men were represented by the same attorney — Tyler Ayers. According to Stidham’s appeal, the co-defendants were satisfied with their use of the same lawyer until Sanchez settled his case in a plea deal with prosecutors.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #164
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    Uscola gets 10 years

    Initial post on Kyacey Uscola's bust
    Mixed martial arts fighter sentenced to prison for domestic violence
    By Cathy Locke
    clocke@sacbee.com
    Published: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 - 8:02 pm

    A mixed martial arts specialist has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for felony assault on the mother of his child.

    Kyacey Uscola, 32, was sentenced Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette. Uscola received and additional 10 months in county jail for a separate misdemeanor assault, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

    On June 13, Uscola, a professionally trained mixed martial arts specialist, assaulted the mother of his child, inflicting significant injuries, including a punctured lung, eight broken ribs, two lumbar fractures, an orbital fracture and a life-threatening pancreas laceration, authorities said.

    A Sacramento County jury in January convicted Uscola of battery on a spouse or cohabitant, battery with serious bodily injury, and corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant. The jury also found true that Uscola personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim under circumstances involving domestic violence and that he a had a prior domestic violence conviction
    Gene Ching
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  15. #165
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    Follow up

    Here's a more detailed account of Lee Murray.

    The tale of a UFC fighter who orchestrated a $97M bank heist
    By Justin Faux on March 05, 2014

    "To this day, one gunman and 32 million pounds ($59,309,570 AUD) are still unaccounted for."

    Lee Murray had all the tools to become a UFC champion, but today he sits in a cramped Moroccan prison cell, charged with committing the largest cash heist in the UK’s history.

    In 1963 a group of London criminals robbed a Glasgow-to-Ireland mail train, getting away with a cool £2.6 million ($4,818,902 AUD).

    Dubbed "The Great Train Robbery", it is one of the most well-remembered and discussed robberies in history, but according to Kent police, in 2006, just 600 kilometres away from that railway heist a group of six small time crooks led by Murray rolled out of a cash depot with 20 times as much loot.

    Just a few years earlier however, most pegged Murray, the UK’s most popular MMA fighter, to make his fortune in the cage, not by robbing banks.

    Before he had ever stepped foot into a fenced in MMA arena to compete in a sanctioned fight, the British gangster had a wild reputation as a street fighter, and he lived up to those expectations at every turn.

    UFC veteran Remco Pardoel once recounted a time that Murray single-handedly disposed of eight bouncers at a British nightclub. Early MMA fighter Dexter Casey has also re-told the tale of Murray choking a doorman unconscious before leaving him in a puddle of a strangers urine, but the most infamous bar brawling tale of Murrays career was when he allegedly knocked then UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz out cold in a London alleyway.

    Ortiz has always denied this ever took place, but several fighters, namely Matt Hughes and Pat Miletich, who trained alongside Murray at the time, have supported the Brit's claim.

    Word of Murray throttling “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” travelled fast, and it wasn’t long before the UFC were pounding down the door of “Lightning” Lee.

    The 185 pound (83kg) division in the UFC was a village without a king in 2004 when the charismatic youngster arrived. Murilo Bustamunte abandoned the weight class as champion two years prior to chase bigger money paydays in Japan’s Pride organisation, leaving the title vacated, and it would stay that way for almost three years.

    Murray was expected to become an immediate player in the division, and perhaps be that star that made them revive the title, but he would only ever fight in the premier mixed martial arts organisation once.

    Walking to the cage in an orange jumpsuit with a Hannibal Lecter mask on, Murray made his promotional debut at UFC 46, submitting 15 fight Octagon veteran Jorge Rivera in less than two minutes, but he would never return to the UFC again after being charged with attempted felony road rage just a few months later.

    Murray had allegedly assaulted a motorist who sideswiped him, almost beating the driver to death. Charges were eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence, but the US State Department still denied the British slugger a work visa, crushing his hopes of being one of the UFC’s biggest and most marketable stars.

    Murray would only fight once more in his career, in a losing effort against soon to be UFC middleweight champ and all-time great Anderson Silva inside a jam-packed Wembley Conference Centre.

    The London Shootfighter product was always a fighter, but soon thereafter Murray would lay helpless in a hospital bed, fighting for his life after being stabbed outside the Funky Buddha nightclub after a wild night out in London.

    "I was at a nightclub. I was with a few of my friends... we went to a casino and gambled and went to the club. Did a bit of partying. Come out of the club and there was a big fight that broke out outside the club between a group of guys and some guy that was with a friend of mine,” Murray said in an interview with now-defunct website SubFighter.com just months before the heist.

    “One of my friends got involved in the fight. I tried to help him because about six or seven guys was on one of my friends. That's when I got stabbed. I got stabbed in the head first. I thought it was a punch. When I felt the blood coming down my face, I just wiped the blood and just continued to fight,” he explained.

    “Next, I looked down at my chest and blood was literally shooting out of my chest. I looked down, and I knew I had been stabbed in the heart by the way the flow of the blood was coming out of my chest. It was literally flying out of my chest like a yard in-front of me," he continued.

    Due to his growing popularity in the fight industry, and outrageous bad boy persona both in and outside of the cage, the media intently covered Murray’s story following the stabbing. Most relished the idea of covering his road to recovery, but none could have predicted how Murray's tale would twist.

    The London born fighter plotted the Securitas Heist, which saw him come together with a group of six other bandits and nab £53 million (98,231,476 AUD) on one cold February night in 2006.

    The group, some dressed as police officers with makeup disguises and fake mustaches, kidnapped depot manager Colin Dixon along with his wife and seven year old son and forced him to open the doors to the warehouse which held millions of pounds. Murray threatened to harm Dixon's small family, who were tied up and held at gunpoint should he not cooperate.

    The frightened 63 year old reluctantly opened the vault to the Securitas Depot, which was surrounded by three nearby police stations filled with officers who were oblivious to the brazen crime going on right underneath their noses.

    The thieves filled steel cages full of notes, transporting the money into the back of a truck with forklifts and shopping carts. They got away with £53 million ($97,903,758 AUD) when all was said and done, but inside the vault was in excess of 200 million pounds ($370,684,818 AUD), but they simply couldn’t fit any more cash into the truck.

    The heavily armed gunmen left the scene 40 minutes after they gained access to the depot, leaving behind Dixon, his family, and several workers unharmed. By the time the manager sounded the alarm half an hour later (he was tied up), the group was nowhere to be found.

    It seemed like the perfect crime, but within hours their plans would begin to unravel. A fortnight later, police had three men behind bars and pinpointed Murray as the mastermind, but “Lightnight” Lee was already out of the country and living in Morocco.

    With his childhood friend and fellow MMA fighter Paul “The Enforcer” Allen in tow, Murray purchased a $1.5million mansion in the city of Rabat and was living the life of the rich and the famous indulging in excessive cocaine use, expensive jewelry, £5000 ($9236 AUD) nights out, and plastic surgery for their partners; but their life in the fast lane wouldn’t last long.

    The gangsters were captured four months into their stay at a Moroccan mall where they were shopping with a group of friends, and were taken into custody after a minor struggle. Police found large amounts of drugs at his lavish mansion, and brought them in on those charges with hopes of sending the fighting duo back to the UK to face the music for the Securitas Heist.

    Allen was extradited and sent back to Britain, but Morocco refused to do the same for Murray, who holds a Moroccan citizenship due to his father being born there. Murray was originally slapped with a 10 year sentence for his part in the crime, but an additional 15 years were later tacked on.

    To this day, one gunman and 32 million pounds ($59,309,570 AUD) are still unaccounted for.

    While inside "Lighting" has been as erratic and unpredictable as he was when he was a free man, fathering a child and even unsuccessfully plotting an escape.

    Murray’s escape plans were foiled when a fellow inmate informed authorities that he had a laptop with internet access hidden in his cell. When prison authorities searched his area they discovered a number of hacksaw blades and learned that Murray had been starving himself so he could squeeze through a narrow opening to get out of the prison.

    Morgan Freeman’s character Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding in the 1994 classic film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ was “known to locate certain things from time to time” and it seems Murray has those abilities as well, somehow gaining access to a mobile phone to conduct a six hour long text message interview with MMA site MiddleEasy.

    Living in a tiny room with 23 inmates and only 16 beds, Murray explained what a day in his life behind bars typically entails.

    “Wake up about 8AM, we have our own hob to cook food on so I make some breakfast, usually oats, fruit yogurt and protein shake, then 9:30am the door opens to go out to the yard so I usually do some cardio, interval training with sprints and stuff, train for about a one hour, then go back to the room and have a carb and protein drink, then I heat a big saucepan of water and tip it into a bucket and go into the toilet room to have a shower if that’s what you want to call it. I use a pot to scoop the water out the bucket to tip over me, when I finish I have something to eat again, something light. The door closes again at 11am, I sleep a little, then the door opens at 2:30pm, there’s a guy here who was a kickboxing champion Zakaria Moussaoui. Me and him do some Thai training, pad work sparring or kettle-bells, then at 5pm the door closes again (until) the morning.” Murray said.

    If the one time UFC fighter serves his entire 25 year sentence, he will be 58 years old when he is released in 2035.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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