Earlier this month, the UFC signed Benjamin “The Hooligan” Brinsa, a 13-0 welterweight prospect from Leipzig, Germany. That name might not mean anything to you, but for followers of the German MMA scene, it carries some very negative connotations.
True to his nickname, Brinsa is a member of the Leipzig-based hooligan group Scenario LOK. Brinsa’s MMA team, La Familia, reportedly has connections to the local Neo-Nazi scene, and Brinsa himself used to help run a mail-order service for Neo-Nazi rock music. Here are a few excerpts from German news articles that share more details about Brinsa’s questionable background and connections (rough translations via Google)…
La Familia borders on xenophobia and extremism…La Familia [is where] violent neo-Nazis from the spectrum of the “National Boys” train (JN) and the sponsors and fighters of LaFamilia are known neo-Nazis. The most famous of them is Benjamin Brinsa, a fighter [who] in the past was in combat sporting events such as the “Respect Fighting Championship” in Essen, but was discharged because of his right machinations.
Brinsa is a member of the right-hooligan group “Scenario LOK” from Leipzig and posed behind a banner reading “ultras LOK – National Resistance”. In addition, he was with Thomas Persdorf, a nationally known neo Nazi and operator of the shipment “Front Records”, registered as a director of a company that managed the site “Aryan Brotherhood”. According to information from the Leipzig anti-fascist magazine “Gamma,” he is said to have worked as a janitor in the “national center” in Leipzig-Lindenau. Brinsa received a stadium ban in Leipzig due to his violence. He and his friend Christopher “Joker” Henze, also a member of the right-hooligan group “Scenario LOK” were received with open arms by La Familia and courted as “two powerful new additions” with “aggressive fighting style”…
La Familia’s prominent members include a number of neo-Nazis [who] train there for their attacks on other people. These include several people in the “National Boys” (JN) (the NPD youth organization). Among them, Mario Alexander Müller, convicted neo-Nazi from Delmenhorst. He was recently convicted of an attack on an anti-fascists from Delmenhorst…
One of the ticket agencies and sponsors of LaFamilia “Fight Night” is the Tattoo & Piercing Studio White Skull in the street Köthener Halle-Trotha. There works Florian Jass, a neo-Nazi from the area…who participated in the neo-Nazi rally on May 01, 2011 in Halle…
On Thursday of last week, there suddenly appeared in the “Martial Arts Board,” an MMA Internet forum, an anonymous open letter titled: “Nazis during Respect Fighting Championship 7?”. It [gave] evidence that Benjamin Brinsa [belonged to] the Leipzig hooligan scene – and has close ties to Nazi scene.
In an article of the German magazine “contrasts”, also linked to the anonymous writer explains a hooded hooligan hatred of Jews, foreigners and blacks. A comparison of language and voice with an interview of the fighter Benjamin Brinsa suggests: it is the same man. [Ed. note: That part is sort of hard to parse out, but basically, a video of a masked hooligan was shown on German TV talking about his hatred of the aforementioned minority groups, and he was identified as Brinsa from his voice and the gap between his front teeth.]
[Respect Fighting Championship] organiser Ben Helm was initially reluctant. In “Martial Arts Board,” he explained, “we will have no room for a neo-fascist or racist fighter in RESPECT.FC,” [but] quoted at the same time from a statement that Brinsa had made to him, in that he rejects the allegations and explained to have nothing to do with Nazis. Helm left him on the fight card.
However, it lasted only one day, until the swarm intelligence of the network had further researched. Came to light: Leipzig Antifa activists have written several times about Brinsa and published photos. On we see him in a group of men behind a “fan” Poster: “ultras locomotive – National Resistance”…
Brinsa, as is apparent from the Commercial Register of the Local Court of Leipzig is also registered Managing Director of A & B UG Service, which is responsible for the site of an “Aryan Brotherhood” (Aryan Brotherhood). Co-CEO is Thomas Persdorf – and the latest on this point, the level of Nazi prominence is achieved because Persdorf was also owner of Front Records, a leading distributor of Nazi music clothing and other right accessories.
On Monday this week, [Helm] decided to take Brinsa off the fight card: “I wanted beforehand obviously a few things not quite see,” [??] confessed Helm contrite. The good fight record, the sporting successes Brinsas had been important to him. Rumors about the Brinsas’s tied to the hooligan scene he had not taken seriously, and says he regrets, because he had “absolutely no desire to [have] Nazis, either in the ring or in the audience.”
The 23-year-old middleweight fighter of “La Familia Fight Club” teams (Halle / Saale) was [removed from] the largest MMA event Respect.FC” earlier this year, after his connections in the Saxon neo- scene were detected…Moreover Brinsas hooligan group Scenario Leipzig “was belligerent together with various neo-Nazis, also members of the group in football riots. Pictures show him behind a banner reading “Ultras locomotive – National Resistance”. For Respect.FC organizer Ben Helm that was enough: He made it clear that he was “absolutely no desire [have] to Nazis, either in the ring or in the audience,” The influential German-language martial arts portal “Groundandpound” welcomed the decision at the time, but also quoted Brinsa as saying “I’m not a Nazi.” Given the facts, a preposterous claim.
Even though German MMA promoters have started to keep their distance from Brinsa, “The Hooligan” somehow managed to land a contract with the biggest MMA promotion in the world. You’d think that Zuffa would have learned its lesson about not doing basic background checks on its fighters. Brinsa is not the kind of the person that should be representing the UFC, and we hope the promotion re-considers the signing once they learn a little more about his past associations.
Update #1: UFC president Dana White tweeted earlier today that he’s “looking into it,” in response to one of his followers sending him this story. White later deleted the tweet.
Update #2: Brinsa has just released a response to this coverage on his Facebook page:
here is my public statement on the allegations that have been made against me on various websites yesterday:
I am not a neo-Nazi, never have been, never will be. At no time in my life have I ever made any xenophobic, anti-Semitic or racist statements, either in public or in private. Yes, I do have a past as a football hooligan in my youth, but that is a thing of the past as I have been solely focusing on my professional career for the past couple of years.
My grappling coach and good friend Marcin Bandel hails from Poland and I have friends from all over the world. Next week, I will join a training camp with fighters from Bosnia, Brazil, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Russia and Tunesia – do you think I had any interest in training with all these non-German athletes if I was a neo-Nazi? There is just no place for racism and xenophobia in an international, global sport like MMA.
I’ve been trying to take legal action against the person that has started the smear campaign against me on the internet, but unfortunately to no avail so far as he hides behind synonyms and publishes his defamation on websites with no legal information. For the past two years this guy has been contacting promoters, sponsors, authorities and journalists trying to prevent me from getting fights and trying to destroy my reputation.
My friends and training partners come from various nationalities, religious and social backgrounds. I don’t support any kind of political extremism, racism, xenophobia or neo-Nazi ideas and ideologies. In fact, I am a completely non-political person. Right now, I only have three goals in life: Being the best man I possibly can for my beautfil girlfriend and future wife, being a good example to my son and becoming the best fighter I can possibly be.
(Thanks to CagePotato reader Tobias W. for the tip)