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The MMA Chain Gang: A Depressing Review of 2011′s Criminal Activities


Most ‘crimes’ in MMA take the form of inept judging and flagrant rule breaking, but this past year many professional fighters were caught up in activities that landed them inside of a very different sort of cage. Get ready for a trip down memory lane in our most depressing “booking roundup” of the year. Here’s your run down of 2011’s biggest arrests, convictions, acquittals, and sentencings.

Random Assaults

Ben Fodor (aka“Phoenix Jones”)

Elements of the Crime: You almost get the feeling that some of the fighters on this list go looking for trouble. In the case of Ben Fodor, that’s entirely accurate. The brother of Strikeforce fighter Caros Fodor, Ben has only had one professional fight, preferring instead to wage his battles on the mean streets of Seattle under the moniker “Phoenix Jones”. The would-be super hero tried to break up a street fight earlier this year by dosing the parties with pepper spray. In addition to enraging the “bad guys”, Fodor’s actions caught the attention of local authorities. It turns out that when you pepper spray a crowd you’re committing a crime, unless you have a written note from Commissioner Gordon.

The Charges: Assault

The Sentence: Though Fodor was summoned to court, no charges were filed.

Career Fallout: Well, a fighting career isn’t really his focus. His crime-fighting career, however, may have taken a hit. Jones’s ‘super-secret’ identity was revealed as a function of the court process. Now anyone he’s ever loved is at risk.


Ricco Rodriguez

Elements of the Crime: When Ricco Rodriguez wants to party, Ricco Rodriguez wants to party. It’s caused him plenty of trouble in his life, from becoming the first UFC fighter suspended for coke abuse to a little incident where he dragged his not-quite-yet-dead girlfriend’s body behind the wheel of his wrecked car. After an appearance on “Celebrity Rehab”, things were looking up for the former champ, but then he short changed a cab driver after being dropped off a bar and slammed the cabbie to the ground when he called the authorities. Unfortunately “Suave” hadn’t calmed down by the time the cops arrived; as they tried to place him under arrest, he shoved one of them into the wall.

The Charges: Assault and resisting arrest

The Sentence: N/A

Career Fallout: None. In fact, after the incident he picked up his twelfth win and competed in Bellator where Seth Petruzelli put him into the sort of delirious state he’d normally lie, cheat, or steal for.


Hong Man Choi

Brock Lesnar Hong Man Choi K-1 Dynamite USA

Elements of the Crime: Compared to most of the drunken women that fell prey to MMA fighters this year, Hong Man Choi’s victim got off pretty easy. The 20 year old refused to pay what she considered to be an inflated tab after having drinks at the K1 & MMA fighter’s pub in Gwangjin, Korea. Choi was said to have punched the woman after she cursed at him during their brief argument. The 7’2” giant admitted to pushing the woman aside after she had struck him, but no more.

The Charges: Assault, Scaring small children

The Sentence: Both parties were able to reach a private settlement in the matter. Choi did not face any legal action.

Career Fallout: If fighting Jose Canseco doesn’t kill your career, nothing can, bruh.


Junie Browning

Elements of the Crime: Attention whore Junie Browning came correct with a dramatic, last minute entry to our rap-sheet wrap-up. The aptly-named “Lunatik” took a break from training in Phuket, Thailand to have a few drinks with friends at a local watering hole. Trouble must have a passport, because it promptly tracked Junie down and a massive bar, street, and hospital brawl ensued. What exactly prompted the melee and who was the aggressor is a matter of whose story you believe. It’s your classic case of “drunken-insane-MMA-washout-said/drunken-bar-owner-potential-plane-bomber-said. What we do know is that Browning went into hiding, either from authorities or the Thai mafia. More details poured in, but they hardly shed light on the matter.

The Charges: Multiple assault charges

The Sentence: In the midst of a massive manhunt, Junie turned himself in to authorities, who opted to work with both parties to find a resolution to the squab rather than press criminal charges. Thus far those efforts have proven fruitless.

Career Fallout: Junie only fought once in 2011, picking up his fourth straight loss on a regional card in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While this recent legal dust-up won’t endear him to any big league promoters, neither will his fighting.

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Cagepotato Comments

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CrushCo- December 28, 2011 at 6:25 am
@intercept: I left off Harold Howard's exploits for the same reason I ignored Rampage's destruction derby, Lee Murray's bank robbery, and Tito's arrest for domestic abuse: neither the crime, the trial, nor the sentencing took place in 2011.
intercept440- December 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm
ok...ok....How and the blue HELL can you leave out Harold muthafuking howard going on a rampage and driving his truck onto a fucking casino.......
when are you going to hire me to write this shit??
JoseMonkey- December 27, 2011 at 7:13 am
I tend to agree with @GistoftheFist - while I enjoy reading articles like this, I can't help but feel like it gives the jerks who want to outlaw MMA ammunition for their cause.
Would it be disingenuous and stupid to claim that a list of a few "bad apples" should have any relevance to the sport as a whole? Absolutely. That doesn't mean people don't use that sort of logic, and unfortunately, there are many who are persuaded by fallacies.
dillweed- December 26, 2011 at 11:46 am
xeno - the bjj level and mma level are quite high, it is the human decency/common sense and generally feeling a need to obey the rules of polite society and sometimes the law - type areas where occasional lack of judgement rears its ugly head. If you haven't noticed this tends to be true in mma circles, a good cliche fits here - "de nile is not just a river in Africa". It's part of the landscape, sweeping it under the rug may or may not help.
Zescape- December 26, 2011 at 11:16 am
Joe Son raped that woman 21 years ago, not 11. But who's counting?
CrushCo- December 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm
@Pen-15: Thanks, I knew her name was that.
pinkyslayer- December 25, 2011 at 11:04 am
xenophon, go drink your loneliness away you fucking whiny cunt.
Pen Fifteen- December 25, 2011 at 10:47 am
Brett Rogers' wife is named Tiuana, not Juanita. I can't believe you missed a chance to crack a joke about The Grim beating the 'J' out of his wife's name. December 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm
Great article - one guy on this list no longer wants to fight Anderson Silva!
XENOPHON- December 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm
You've got yourself into a great gym. Where is it, how can I join. Out of being a decent guy --- you should make a post a new banner for the board in your gym. Its a quote that is missing. Its from someone everyone posting on this article should have read and known.
Quote: "Quietly lowering the bar for MMA Reporting one article at a time!" - Chris Coleman
That's calling the ace just that, and the spade, just the spade.
dillweed- December 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm
we compile a list similar to this at our gym, only our "crimes" mostly include taking fat chicks home, or ugly chicks to the bathroom, or getting tapped at the local tourney to some d bag from the retard gym across town
XENOPHON- December 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Disagree, it should be written and talked about - the crimes happened, its fair game. MMA fighters on prime time are no different than golfers, football players, politicians, or actors.
In this case, few of the people Coleman listed had not much, if any notoriety outside of this small website. They where surely not players (contenders) by any means. As for Yuki Nakai being blinded, that was self censoring. Not censorship by the press - which I am hearing promoted ^ above ^.
In the case of auto racing, drivers get fucked up and killed on occasion. It becomes front page news that makes its way onto the televised news. MMA is not front page news worthy except my mistake. MMA likely wont ever be front page, as boxing (much less physical contact sport) over the past 3 decades at best only gets the front page in the sports section.
At that, where both women and men read the front page, the sports section front page is nearly all men. As for the men profiled, they are nobodies - this includes Yuki Nakai, who was blinded in more than one way.
CrushCo- December 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm
@Gist: I hear you and I understand what you're saying, but I think the sport is at a level now where a handful of individuals associated only by a single facet of their lives (MMA) won't destroy it. I know NY is still a hurdle, but the sport will be sanctioned there eventually. Every sport, in fact every profession, has countless convicts in their ranks. These guys are the exception, not the rule. All of these incidents were covered throughout the MMA community and in traditional media at large, I simply gathered them into a single post.
Mofo- December 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm
Who throws a shoe? Honestly. Who puts a gun in a bum? I mean reeeeally. You fight like a woman!
Mofo- December 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm
@Gist - ehh, that definitely ran thru my head too... but politicians don't read CP. And anyone could make a list like this for any other sport too. You could make a nice list like this for Capital Hill for that matter.
GistoftheFist- December 24, 2011 at 11:56 am
As well written as this article was, it's my opinion that these kind of articles shouldn't be created. When Yuki Nakai was blinded in one eye in his fight with Gerard Gourdeau, he didn't talk about it in front of the press because he didn't want MMA to get negative attention. I think it's a bad decision to make articles with "MMA Criminals" in the title and thrown it out there for idiot politicians to use as ammunition in their anti-MMA campaigns.
XENOPHON- December 24, 2011 at 11:45 am
Hey CC, since the year isn’t over I think FOX is going to wake up, realize they got bamboozled by front company Zuffa for their first big fight…and file charges that want their money back.
Oh I forgot, JDS tore the the fucking head off Velazquez at Honda center for the worlds shortest MMA heavyweight title fight. The charges will read:
- Fraud (count 1): Fox wants their money back.
- Fruad (count 2): Forcing the public to watch 1 hour, for a 3 minute event.
- Failure to Preform: No Champ showed up to defend the belt.
- Attempted Murder: 1 punch to the head.
- Schoolyard Beating Due to Truancy: ex-Champ isn’t really a workout phenom, and got caught skipping too many class.
Mofo- December 24, 2011 at 11:44 am
Cool column Coleman! And you managed to write all that without using the banned phrase "rape choke" even once. You get a gold star.
My captcha says heriast. Yo MAMA be hairy assed.