An up-and-coming Ohio MMA prospect’s body was found in the woods near a party where he got into a fight earlier in the evening Saturday night and the man he brawled with has been charged in connection with his murder.
According to a report from the Sandusky Register, Westlake resident and 2-0 amateur fighter Phil Masterson, 25 whose brother Matt is a 9-3 pro, attended a party on South Bass Island near a cabin he was renting for the holiday long weekend on September 3 where he got into an altercation with a 27-year-old Bowling Green man by the name of Zachary Brody. After some pushing and shoving that escalated into a brief fight, the pair were separated and went their separate ways. Police allege that at some point later in the night Brody returned to the scene and beat Masterson to death and hid his body in the woods beneath a tarp, where it was later found by family members who began a search Sunday for their missing relative.
Brody is charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault.
Besides the obvious, one of the unfortunate elements of the story that several news outlets have already taken and run with is that both the victim and his alleged murderer have trained in MMA, which isn’t helped by the fact that the local sheriff who is leading the investigation has made a point of telling reporters that “both had at least some exposure or training in mixed martial arts, a full-contact sport that combines various forms of fighting, including wrestling, grappling and striking.” The obvious correlation that those who aren’t proponents of the sport will make is that MMA fighters are likely all idiots who go around getting in street fights, using their skill and training to hurt or kill people, which couldn’t be further from the truth in the majority of cases. Most fighters I know have never been in a fight outside of the cage and in many, if not all of their trainers and coaches explicitly forbid their students from fighting outside of competition and sparring.
Hopefully news of this incident doesn’t reach Bob Reilly’s desk or else we can expect to hear him talking about Brody and Masterson in his next anti-MMA rant in New York State Assembly during next session’s push to legalize the sport in the Empire State.
You can bet that if he does, he’ll conveniently forget to mention that Brody trained in BJJ and grappling, not MMA and that he had a history of violence dating back to a 2004 temporary protection order a fraternity member filed against him.