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Strikeforce’s Brandon Saling is a white supremacist AND a registered sex offender

When I saw the first shot of Strikeforce’s Brandon Saling last night as he was about to meander down the walkway to fight Roger Bowling, they only showed his face. Just based on that, I thought to myself, “Gee, he sure does look an awful lot like the white supremacists in those MSNBC prison shows.” I convinced myself that I was being unduly harsh because there are plenty of trailer park residents out there who can’t help the way they look and were essentially born into their white trash status. Even when they showed his huge “White Steel” tattoo, I told myself, “That’s OK, it’s just his nickname… ‘Black Steel’ would be a cool, non-racist nickname for a black fighter too! Besides, is that any worse than Brown Pride?”

But evidently, my Mr.-Rogers-like attitude was a bit naive and I really should have gone with my gut on this one. Some endeavoring Sherlocks out there with HD-DVRs (or Sherdog, or weighin photos, whatever) discovered that he has an “88” shoulder tattoo surrounded by lightning bolts. For those who aren’t well-versed in neo-Nazism (most of you, I hope), Bloody Elbow has some info on these groups’ use of 88 as a pro-Hitler symbol from Wikipedia. I won’t bore you with a sociology lesson, but suffice it to say, if you have an “88” tattoo that’s not something along the lines of “RIP grandma, 1912-1988,” you’re probably a scumbag. Dana White says he’s “looking into it,” but really, it seems pretty black-and-white to me.

Also, it seems that while Zuffa/Forza was busy implementing useless pre-contract drug tests, they forgot to add criminal background checks and simple google searches into the mix as well. Oops! Saling now marks another entry in the growing list of pervs in MMA: in addition to a 2008 domestic violence issue, Saling is a registered sex offender because of a 2004 case in which he allegedly raped a child under 13 years old:

Two Noble County men are facing first-degree felony rape charges following an investigation by the Noble County Sheriff’s Office into the weekend disappearance of a 12-year-old girl and her 13-year-old sister. According to Noble County Sheriff Landon T. Smith, the girls parents had allowed them to go to an all-night birthday party at a friend’s house in Monroe County last Friday. According to reports, the girls left the party with the suspects. Brandon C. Saling, 18, Summerfield, and James T. Allen, 18, Sarahsville were each charged with rape of a person under 13 years old, a first-degree felony.

There are multiple easily-googlable perv alerts available with his mugshot on them. Zuffa/Forza didn’t take the five minutes to look those up. But at least we’ll still know if a prospective Strikeforce fighter has been smoking pot. Therefore, the REAL miscreants will still be weeded out. So how did Strikeforce General Manager Scott Coker react to getting caught with his (thankfully figurative) pants down? And where is the athletic commission in all of this? MMAJunkie has news on what will happen next:

(More after the jump)

Coker noted that Saling is licensed as a professional fighter in Ohio and several other states. “We had no knowledge about that until someone brought it up to us this evening,” Coker said of Saling’s background. “It came to our attention during the course of the fights… [The Ohio Athletic Commission is] going to launch a full investigation on Monday,” he said. “So that’s where that’s at. As far as you guys know, the policy for Strikeforce and the UFC is that kind of body art, offensive behavior, (and) offensive art is not going to be allowed. So that’s something we went to the athlete (with). He responded, and we’re going to investigate further and see what the truth is.”

Coker declined to provide details of his conversation with the fighter and said Strikeforce would inform the media of the investigation’s outcome.

OAC Executive Director Bernie Profato confirmed early Sunday that he’s contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which will look into the allegations on Monday. He said Saling, who recently renewed his license, will be also notified that his license could potentially be suspended and will have the opportunity to defend himself as an individual or accompanied by legal representatives at an OAC meeting in April. “We’re not going to speculate until we have facts,” Profato said. “He’s innocent until proven guilty.”

Profato said Ohio licensees are required to disclose any criminal background but was unaware of whether Saling noted any past offenses. “If it’s on his application and we missed it, we apologize,” he said.

Even if Saling had fought two weeks prior to last night and was brought in as a late replacement, Zuffa/Strikeforce looks pretty dumb for letting this slide by, even if they try to act cute and Sarah Palin their way out of it. And the Ohio Athletic Commission is obviously going to go back through Saling’s application forms with a fine-tooth comb in order to see if they can find any way to revoke his license for lying. But if Saling did admit his criminal background in his athletic commission application, what then?

The issue of what to do with neo-Nazi fighters has been discussed recently with respect to KSW’s Niko Puhakka, who was pulled out of a title fight and basically hated out of Poland for his political leanings (sound familiar?). There are multiple schools of thought on this, and promotions can obviously not be compelled to hire any fighter who is seen as “bad for business” for any reason. But the ability to be licensed by a state to earn money at one’s chosen profession is not exactly a privilege to be granted only to people whom we like. He’s not asking to teach at an elementary school or drive an ice cream truck; he’s asking permission to get punched in the face for a living.

The prospect of Saling having his license revoked begs the question of where white supremacist, sex offending people are supposed to work. Should we force them to subsist on toxin-laden fish and live under a bridge, or should we try to reintegrate them into society, hoping that they’ll act less like sociopathic assholes in the future? Or should we bring them all to the town square and stone them to death in the name of Allah? Post your suggestions in the comments section!

  • KrmtDfrog

    T’was nice of Dana to reply, albeit unexpected. I figured I’d just be another angry voice in the crowd – always strange when you get acknowledged

  • Jim Harbaugh Scramble

    Pro fighter seems like the perfect job for a racist pederast. Let him get his ass kicked for a living. Very easy to market that.

  • nem0

    Without going into detail, there’s a dude who fights for Fight Force and some of the other Pacific Northwest promotions who’s got an enormous swastika tattoo across his shoulders. Their solution is to make him wear a rashguard that covers the tat when he’s fighting.

    On the other hand, we’re talking about fights that take place, untelevised, in places like Hamliton, Montana’s fair grounds building.

  • Reverend Clint

    needs to be more rapist getting their asses kicked.

  • sharaab

    I’m sure if he was up front about it and said it was a “one time mistake from his youth” and he was a “paid racist” and not a real racist, it would all be ok.

  • Symbul

    “Pro fighter seems like the perfect job for a racist pederast.”

    I’ll come to Mr. Saling’s defense here. A pederast engages in pederasty, fucking young boys. Mr. Saling raped a girl. If you want to bring out the pedo stamp, you can call him a pedophile.

  • dick

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see how even-handed you jackals are being so far about whether this guy should be allowed to have a job, etc. The writer at cagepotato was just like “he’s a shit-stain on the underwear of humanity… this is not who we need representing us, guys.”As if some guy fighting on the undercard of a Strikeforce card represents him personally.

    Personally, I covered in the Niko Puhakka comments section that if I were put in charge of hiring people, I could never justify not hiring someone because of his politics. If I did that, I would be doing exactly the same thing as the Nazis did, and I would be no better than they were.

    As for the child rape thing, he could have easily caught a bum rap. The two girls easily could have realized that they were in big trouble with their parents for running off for a weekend, and tried to take the blame off themselves by saying they got raped by some wanton aggressor rather than admit that they willingly snuck off. Then Saling could have just taken a plea bargain because his lazy public defender didn’t want to fight the case and so warned Saling about potentially damaging witness stand testimony from the girls. It happens all the time. His charges were dropped from 1st degree rape to “gross sexual imposition,” whatever that means, so they could have just offered him a deal that made sense and he might have taken it even though that 12-year-old actually totally just gave it up to a couple of 18-year-olds.

  • iamphoenix

    such a stupid tattoo. i don’t know why he would get white steel on his stomach. there’s not even any shading or color to it. crappy work by the tattooist. I agree with the sentiment, if you’re going to get a tattoo and want to fight MMA, make it look decent because we’ll just end up with this mess. Hopefully he’s able to afford to get the tat done and redeem himself next time he fights.

  • kwagnuth

    But judge she totally gave it up I didn’t even have to rape her. Can I go now?


  • Redping

    Dick that is some paranoid and unlikely thinking – its pretty likely that the dude is a racist rapist. You could discredit EVERY rape in the world by saying ‘it was probably circumstance and he got blamed for something he didnt do blah blah etc etc’ but that doesn’t really change the fact that you’re convicted of a sexual assault. ‘it happens all the time’ isn’t a very good reason to support rape and racism, just on the chance that he’s falsely accused. You sound you like you just got cheated on by a lying bitch, the way you’re so quick to defend a rapist over the two girls who he was accused of diddling. Just rest assured that it’s a lot more likely that the guy is a rapist, than the idea that these girls are lying just because they want their friends to think they’re totally cool for getting raped by a nazi.

    If we can’t trust convictions of ciminals to point out who is a criminal and who’s not – WHATS THE POINT OF THE ENTIRE CRIMINAL SYSTEM? i’m pretty sure its not immoral to say ‘hey this guys a piece of shit’ considering we have actual evidence on paper that he is the two WORST kinds of criminal possible – racist and rapist. Add violence to that mix and you’ve got yourself a real problematic fighter you do not want under your banner, witha SS tattoo on his back. Honestly, can you think of something more impossible to defend than a ‘nazi rapist’ ? hahah talk about worst case scenario

  • iamphoenix

    someone who writes so many words you just have to tell the TL DR.

  • kwagnuth

    Judge: No you cannot leave until I find you a job.

  • dick

    Redping- yeah, I see where you’re coming from, but the criminal justice system is a pretty fucked up thing. It very often doesn’t work, but it functions in a predictable fashion. What he pled guilty to, “gross sexual imposition,” is essentially forcing someone to have sex with another person (the sexual contact is not with the offender.) So it seems to me that the DA knew that attempting to prove that he actually raped those girls would fall flat on its face for one reason or another. So they reduced the charges to being basically an “accessory to rape” just to get some sort of conviction out of it and probably scared him into taking the deal by throwing some crazy number of years out there that he’d have to do if he blew trial.

    If they wanted to prove that he actually raped those girls, there would have been options open to them that would have proven it beyond a shadow of a doubt- they could have run a rape kit and gotten DNA evidence. Last I checked, they don’t let people off the hook with accessory charges when there’s DNA evidence to back up the claims. They can’t just look the victims in the face and be like “yeah, we know we found his DNA in your vagina, but we’re going to let him off with a far lesser charge just because.”

    I’m not saying that I know for a fact that this is a good guy… In fact I said in my article that he’s probably a scumbag. But I also know that the criminal justice system is highly flawed and fucks things up all the time, and the charges he ended up with compared to what he was originally facing (1st degree rape) seems to indicate that the case against him was likely full of holes. You have to read between the lines on this shit sometimes. Besides, he was only 18 at the time.

    If we want to call him a scumbag, by far the lowest-hanging fruit is the nazi shit. That, I completely agree makes him a scumbag. But still no reason why he shouldn’t be able to have a job. That being said, would I hire him to fight in my promotion if I had an image to worry about? Hell no.

  • kwagnuth

     I do believe people can change but it’s not the 50s anymore. Most people aren’t gonna knowingly hire a nazi fuck who is stupid enough to get tats like that. If he didn’t have the nazi shit to go along with it I would totally just get a kick out of the white steel tat and nickname. If he is proud to be white then good for him but if that means hating every person who isn’t then fuck him and his beliefs. If I have to choose between him and a guy that doesn’t hate the whole non white world it’s a pretty easy decision.

  • Symbul

    Dick is right. We don’t know that this gentleman necessarily raped those girls. Poor people do not generally have a good time in the criminal justice system. Shit happens.

    But it kind of doesn’t even matter. The “White steel” tattoo could MAYBE, MAYBE slip. With some goodwill. The ’88’ though is completely damning. That wasn’t his jersey number when he used to play football. That’s the neonazi “clever” workaround for ‘Heil Hitler’ and there’s no coming back from that.

  • Letibleu

    he was perfecting the rape choke is all. she liked it.


    Around where I live, if you fuck a 13 year old and someone finds out about it, consent or not its called you’re going to jail. They will label it as rape even if full consent was given by youngling. A few months ago there was a case where parents knowingly let their 14 year old sleep with a 24 year old and they got almost jail time for child endagerment. The kid had the parents consent and it still was bad for the guy and the parents. Remember when ryan dissapeared not long ago for a month???

    All things put asside, being attracted by a 13 year old is fucked to begin with.

    Can we go back and talk about Joe Rogan shaving his head this weekend??? This turd got enough attention already.

  • dick

    Leti- It’s definitely true that it’s a bad decision to mess around with a willing 13-year-old if you know her age, but you have to remember that he was also a teenager at the time of the alleged incident. If it was you or me tinkering with that age of person, then yeah, that’s messed up, but an 18 year old? That’s in one of those gray areas where the laws vary by state and country… doing that in New York could make you an unredeemable felon, whereas in the Netherlands, you get a pat on the back and a high-five. Also, I won’t subject you to a biology lesson, but let’s just say that people are maturing a lot faster these days due to nutrition, stuff in the water, and other factors. There are definitely 13-year-olds out there who are physically “mature.”

    Also, I fully support the baldy. I have been rocking that for about a year now.

  • frickshun

    Not that I have a strong opinion about this b/c none of us were there or are precogs……ARE WE?

    But dick, I gotta say…..unless you are a criminal lawyer or a judge, PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH YOUR STUPID LAW & ORDER INSPIRED OPINIONS. Have you been through the criminal system? Do you even have friends in the system? I have a friend that works in the Brooklyn DA’s office & an in-law that has both written law school textbooks on search & seizure & is currently a judge in BK as well. YET I STILL WOULDN’T ACT LIKE I KNOW THE 1st THING ABOUT ANY OF THIS SHIT. Fucking stupid opinions & their stupid owners…..

  • dick

    Hmm… I’m gonna plead the fifth on that one, frick. ;) I’ll just let you call me stupid this time.

    …Okay, I admit it, I’m actually this guy.

  • CAP

  • agentsmith

    The writer at cagepotato was just like “he’s a shit-stain on the underwear of humanity… this is not who we need representing us, guys.”

    Keep in mind this is coming from a guy named Goldstein, so yeah, he probably feels pretty strongly about neo-nazis.

  • frickshun

    ^^Racially insensitive!!

  • agentsmith

    Well I’m not saying he’s wrong.

  • iamphoenix

    calling grappo grapps is also like calling him a jap. so waisist.

  • CAP

  • iamphoenix

    ^teh best lololol

  • Reverend Clint

    Clearly white people are superior… when it comes to skin color for racist tattoos

  • Grappo

    that is the best.