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Did TMZ Mislead Everyone with the Roger Huerta Streetfight Video and Story?

(Unless Huerta had plastic surgery recently, this isn’t him, which means he may not be the guy who TMZ says ‘can be seen finishing his attack on the other man … who is sprawled out on the street.’")

MMA journalists are accused all the time of being "TMZ-like" reporters — sensationalistic rumor-mongers who report on stories devoid of any real facts. Calling  a reporter that is just as bad as saying "you have no integrity and have no right to be in your chosen profession."

Rarely does the match that lit the flame of a story we helped fan into a blazing, fast-spreading inferno get traced back to the source of that most detested disparaging monicker, but when it does, although it isn’t surprising considering the source, it makes you look long and hard at your own journalistic practices.

Earlier today, TMZ "broke" a story about an alleged street fight former UFC star Roger Huerta was involved in last week in Texas. The gossip site released a video that began with a woman being sucker punched by a man, who is soon confronted by the Bellator lightweight, as pointed out in the crisp freeze frame below:

After a brief panned out shot of a shirtless Huerta squaring off against and then chasing down the fleeing perpetrator we get a few glimpses of the chaotic scene, including shots of frantic screaming women and cars darting through the crowd. Moments later, the video, which then gets suspiciously grainy, focuses from afar on a shirtless man, presumably Huerta, who seems to stomp on someone who is lying motionless on the ground.

If you watch the entire clip in slow motion and focus on the stomp and ensuing fracas frame by frame, it becomes clear that the story is not as cut and dry as many reports suggest.

When the camera closes in on the scene, an irate man with long hair is being held back from jumping on the guy on the ground. A shirtless man, who was previously standing just outside the frame who is clearly NOT Roger Huerta begins yelling at him. When police sirens can be heard in the distance, he seemingly tries to step in to let his buddy know it’s time to exit the scene, post haste, which they do soon after.

The question is, if Roger was the guy they say knocked this piece of trash out, where did he go? He’s nowhere to be found when the camera pans around the scene.

Even more odd is the fact that when you compare the profile of the shirtless man with the freeze frame of the stomper, it’s a near perfect match right down to his hairstyle.

Here’s a digitally enhanced (to improve clarity) version. The photo on the left is a screen capture we grabbed from the video. The one on the right is a still frame used by TMZ which appears to have been altered to add a tribal tattoo to match the one that adorns Huerta’s left shoulder. He also seems to be wearing an unbuttoned long sleeved shirt that is flowing back behind him.

I find it amazing that TMZ, who also have a daily television show and undoubtedly have access to far superior video editing equipment than my Macbook Pro, were unable to clean up the video quality of the stomp allegedly administered by Huerta, yet they pulled these clean screen captures from the beginning of the video to perhaps misleadingly make readers believe it was Roger who put his foot down on the guy’s head, when it is unclear exactly who is the assaulter in the video.

At first, I figured that they rather purposely didn’t write anything that pointed to Huerta as being the guy who used PRIDE rules on the street, leaving the assumption up to the readers by means of the power of suggestion, but after re-reading the post, I realized they didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt I originally afforded them.

Here’s the text from the story, which is pretty cut and dry and leaves little to the imagination:

27-year-old Huerta — who was once featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated — was in front of a bar in Austin around 2 AM on Saturday morning … when some other people began fighting. Roger was near the scuffle … when he saw one of the men involved punch a female who was standing near the ruckus.

Once Huerta sees the woman collapse to the ground — he instantly tries to confront the attacker saying, "You just punched a f**kin’ girl."
Moments later, Huerta takes off his shirt … slams his hat to the ground … and rushes after the man.
Chaos ensues and people scramble after the fighters, blocking the camera — but seconds later … a shirtless Huerta can be seen finishing his attack on the other man … who is sprawled out on the street.
People rush in to aid the bloody man on the ground — who eventually gets off the pavement — as Huerta walks away from the battle ground.
Austin PD tells TMZ that officers were called to the scene — but so far, no arrests have been made.

Huerta’s manager tells us, "I have not spoken to Roger yet about this incident, but I can say that it’s in his nature to be very protective of women."

In their defense, although they seem to love any story about a UFC fighter, I’m not sure TMZ would know Huerta from Clay Guida, but claiming that Roger was the perpetrator of the assault when it isn’t clear that it was him at all is beyond irresponsible.

It’s not like it would have taken much research to figure out what he looks like and to compare photos to stills from the video to see that it very well could have been one of the other shirtless guys in the crowd. I also find it vey odd that not one other person of the hundred or so that were there that night have tweeted, blogged or written a single Facebook status update referring to the former UFC fighter who kicked some woman abuser’s ass last week. How did nobody see what happened?

I think the icing on the cake was the drunken onlooker who informed the cameraman that "the guy who kicked the other guy’s ass is a UFC fighter," yet he didn’t know what Huerta’s name was when asked and given that he was beside the guy who shot the video,  he didn’t even see the ass-kicking up close.

He’s likely going by the fact that he saw Roger in the early stages of a fight before the shit hit the fan and when the guy Huerta was about to throw down with is laid out on his back, it must have been the "UFC fighter" who did it.

I guess we’ll wait and see what TMZ have to say about the situation and if an apology to Huerta is forthcoming if it is proven that this truly is a case of mistaken identity. Maybe we can all learn something from their mistake.

I guess sometimes these things happen when you pay the general public for your news stories.

Cagepotato Comments

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23entrenched- August 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm
Hey, Mike Russell, you dumb idiot!!! Roger has since released a statement as to why he DID it!!!!!! Fuckin moron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Mofo- August 9, 2010 at 9:55 am
Who cares if this article made it to USAToday??

More like USATooGay.

This site is way better than that tedious, boring fighting stances blog.
crooklyn- August 5, 2010 at 2:31 pm
FreddyFangers- August 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Congrats CP, your conspiracy theory has made it all the way to USAToday
sara951- August 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm
No, I saw this article linked to from Out of Bounds.
ScarTissue- August 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm
Dear CagePotato,

I want less of these hard hitting exposes on TMZ stories and more top ten lists.

Also, Ring Girl T&A.

Mike Russell- August 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm
 "Huerta insists that he didn't throw the first punch -- and only reacted when the other guy "started swinging at me" ... and we all know what happened next."No, we don't all know what happened next unless we were there.
Mike Russell- August 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm
 The article doesn't say anything about Roger being photoshopped into the footage altogether. Roger was clearly in the video at the beginning. What is unclear is who perpetrated the vicious stomp to the knocked out dude at the end.TMZ stated it was Huerta. BTW, you signed up here just to argue that TMZ proved CP wrong...Do you work for TMZ?
sara951- August 5, 2010 at 11:53 am
But the article seems like it's saying TMZ photoshopped Roger into the footage all together. That's what they were able to confirm.
Mike Russell- August 5, 2010 at 11:51 am
 Confirmed the consensual fight, NOT that he stomped him after the guy was KO'ed. Kind of convenient that TMZ failed to ask him about the stomp.
sara951- August 5, 2010 at 11:39 am
Mmm, looks like Roger Huerta confirmed it to TMZ.
Severnlogistics- August 5, 2010 at 11:20 am
Roger knocked the guy out, hit him a couple of times as he went down. His buddy was the one that stomped him.
badmarthafocker- August 5, 2010 at 11:03 am
I find it weird that Roger has not come forward with any statement, but I hope that whoever kicked that guy doesn't get into trouble.
Felony Assault- August 5, 2010 at 10:37 am
Good call. 0:28 Roger has on white shoes, and you can see them as he runs as well. The stomper, doesnt have white shoes on.

That piece of shit got exactly what he deserved, KO'd and stomped and hit by people in the crowd.
Koeikan- August 5, 2010 at 10:08 am
That's some CSI shit right there.
CJvsCP- August 5, 2010 at 10:06 am
Mike Russell Hearts Roger Huerta = GAY
superflat- August 5, 2010 at 9:28 am
Eh, Huerta gets to look like a badass without taking the legal rap. Also, Huerta should fire his manager.
kingmantis- August 5, 2010 at 9:11 am
Dear Cagepotato,

See what happens when you try to act like for-realsies journalists? Maybe you guys ought to stick to reprinting whole stories from other, more reputable, not-TMZ sources and writing inaccurate opinion pieces.
pinkyslayer- August 5, 2010 at 8:38 am
jimbonics, you should have noticed by now that the average moron refers to all MMA fighters as UFC fighters. It's really annoying.
jimbonics- August 5, 2010 at 8:20 am
Well, given how many newbie UT students troll 5th and 6th at 2am, sure I can see that. I can also see how fast the words "UFC Fighter" can get whispered about. I suppose the fact he even referred to him as a UFC fighter, when he isn't, gives insight to the cluelessness.

But me? If I recognize someone as a UFC Fighter, I'm going to know his name.

"Hey! There's Lamps Armstrong!! Didn't he fight Wanderson Silva?"
itsgalf- August 5, 2010 at 8:13 am
I disagree jimbonics. I don't think he's that big of a local least not big enough to conclude that there is no way someone could recognize him as a 'UFC fighter' and not know his name. That is entirely possible.

The video is so blurred and poorly shot that I don't think you could rule out it being Roger Heurta
Viva Hate- August 5, 2010 at 7:36 am
I am shocked, I always held TMZ in the highest of regards when it came to journalistic integrity, right up there with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Perez Hilton.
jimbonics- August 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

First off, the camera guy sucks ass.

The guy yelling Roger! Roger!, clearly goes after a guy who isshirtless, about to throw down with Biggie Smalls, and he's wearing white shoes.

Shirtless homie in white shoes then runs after Biggie.

Personally, I think it was Roger that stomped the shit out of homeboy.

Too bad the camera guy sucked so bad.


Two things.

If this had been tweeted, fb'd, or whathaveyou "OMG I just saw Roger Huerta Crib Stimp Biggie Smalls!!" on ANYones account, It would have spread enough to catch on, especially since this happened many days ago.

Roger has lived in Austin forever, and is somewhat a local legend what with his feel-good story, SI cover, etc. So if you recognize him as a "UFC Fighter", you would surely know who he is. So it isn't like this was the streets of Vegas, where you just happen to see a UFC fighter but dont recall his name. Austin has exactly ONE known MMA fighter, unless you're a Bellator fag and know who Jared Hess is.

tnbp- August 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

I was just going to post that, myself. Beat me to it.

But I do think it's obvious enough that Roger put the first whooping on the guy, since his buddy yells, "Roger!" and runs up to actually grab him.

The stomping, though? Hard to tell. White shoes, indeed.
Videodrome_NOW- August 5, 2010 at 6:55 am
You're absolutely right. Good call, mate. @ the .28 second mark you can see Roger has white shoes on.