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7 Dec, 2021 18:52

Cage fighters behind bars: When MMA stars get locked up (VIDEO)

Cage fighters behind bars: When MMA stars get locked up (VIDEO)

Mixed martial arts has presented us with some colorful characters over the years, so it will come as little surprise to learn that more than a few well-known fighters can't always control their temper outside of the Octagon.

There's a rule of thumb when it comes to reporting on fight sports: if a headline opens with the term 'MMA fighter...', it is not going to be good.

A quick Google search will show stories like 'MMA fighter involved in road rage incident', or 'MMA fighter arrested after firearm dispute' are a dime-a-dozen. Rarely, or never, do we see the inverse. 'MMA fighter develops cure for rare disease', or 'MMA fighter discovers new species of butterfly'. 

READ MORE: Lingerie fighting & freak shows: The weirdest combat sports in the world (VIDEO)

As if to prove this truism, one only has to look in the direction of Russian MMA fighter Akmal Khozhiev who drew significant media attention a couple of weeks back for stabbing a doctor to death in Guam. With an animal bone. In a dispute about Covid-19 vaccines. 

While Khozhiev's indiscretion is certainly towards the more serious end of things, mixed martial arts has presented us with a host of superstars who just can't stay out of trouble and here are some of the most, ahem, notorious.


What do you get for the man who has everything? A jail sentence.

McGregor, the Forbes-endorsed richest athlete on the planet earth this year, can legitimately purchase almost anything in the world that has a monetary value. In the past year or two, the UFC double-champ turned whiskey magnate and property developer has bought not one but two of his local pubs, a Lamborghini car and yacht and just about anything else that his heart desires. 

The one thing that has eluded the Irishman, though, is something that doesn't have a price-tag attached to it: revenge. His all-encompassing feud with Russia's Khabib Nurmagomedov eventually saw McGregor charter a private jet to fly to New York to confront his rival and eventually throw a dolly through the window of a bus on which Khabib was sitting in the bowels of Brooklyn's Barclay's Center. 

McGregor's act of vandalism saw the NYPD issue a manhunt for him after which he turned himself in and he was charged with three counts of assault and one of criminal mischief. Nurmagomedov defeated him in the cage by submission months later, and McGregor has had several other legal issues since.


It may not come as a great surprise to learn that a fighter who voluntarily chose the nickname 'Felony' may have had one or two run-ins with the law, but that is exactly the case with Charles Bennett. 

The 42-year-old Florida man has developed into one of mixed martial arts' foremost punching bags in recent years and has, if we check our notes here, lost his last 17 fights in a row. But Bennett has had much more than a losing streak to contend with in recent years, and has gathered a laundry list of legal complaints almost as lengthy as the losses on his professional record.

We don't quite have the time to list off all of Bennett's legal infractions over the years but they include various drug charges as well as an aggravated battery case stemming from when he entered his gym armed with what was described as a "heavy piece of steel" and attacked one of his training partners. 

His recent opponents in the cage, however, have had no such issues. 


When it is all said and done, Jon Jones might well be remembered as the most prominent mixed martial arts superstar who just couldn't quite get out of his own way. 

In sharp contrast to Charles Bennett, Jon Jones' list of arrests extends almost as long as his own winning streak. The longtime UFC light heavyweight champion initially entered the organization with a squeaky-clean reputation, and even assisted in the apprehension of a mugger on the very day that he would become the youngest champion in UFC history.

From then, things went downhill. In 2015, he was involved in a hit-and-run incident in which he broke the arm of a pregnant woman before fleeing the scene and presenting himself to authorities several hours later. His rap sheet also shows more than one DUI and, just a few months ago, a domestic violence arrest in the hours after he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Indeed, nothing encapsulates Jones' career more aptly than being heralded for his incredible achievements in the cage before subsequently being detained by authorities. 


Ask an Englishman about Lee Murray and you might get a few different answers. "Isn't he the guy who knocked out Tito Ortiz in a bar fight in London?" or "Isn't he the guy who fought Anderson Silva at a Cage Rage show before 'The Spider' became a household name?"

Both of those are true (or, in the Ortiz case, almost certainly true), but anyone even broadly aware of the story of English MMA's first true star will ask the more pertinent question: "Isn't he the guy who masterminded the biggest cash robbery in the history of the United Kingdom?"

The answer to that is 'yes'. In February 2006, Murray – who fought in the UFC just two years earlier – was the brains (and brawn) behind a robbery in which he and a few other thugs stole the equivalent of around $70 million from a cash depot in Kent, England. Murray subsequently fled to Morocco, where he was eventually arrested and remains to this day after being slapped with a 25-year prison sentence.

And if you're looking for the most damning statement as to Murray's fearsome reputation, consider these words from Dana White, a man who has dealt with some of the world's most fearsome individuals during his time as UFC president: "He's a scary son of a b*tch, and I don't mean fighter-wise."


Much like Charles Bennett earlier in our list, a fighter who takes the nickname 'Mayhem' is probably more prone to the definition of that word than you or I.

In Jason Miller's case, this is very much true. Miller, though, has long been one of MMA's more beloved characters but also someone who just can't seem to stay out of trouble and, much like most of the other characters mentioned, it's hard to know exactly where to start.

Perhaps the time he woke up naked in a church is a good lead-off? Or maybe the five-hour standoff with a SWAT team at his Orange County, California home which he live-blogged on Twitter? 

In the last couple of months alone, Miller has found himself entangled in further legal issues including a September felony domestic violence, and faced separate but similar charges in October after allegedly breaking a man's rib in a bar brawl. 

It has been quite a fall from grace for one of MMA's more interesting characters, and someone who at one point looked to have been carving out a prominent media career for himself as the host of MTV's 'Bully Beatdown', as well as being a coach on the UFC's reality show 'The Ultimate Fighter'.

But we suspect that casting agents aren't exactly too enthusiastic about armed stand-offs with SWAT teams.