Aw shit … this has not been a good couple of months for Din Thomas. He exploded his kneeball against Kenny Florian back at Ultimate Fight Night 11, and now he’s being arrested and given felony charges for hosting a smoker at his gym:
Din Thomas, almost a legend in the ultimate fighting world, was arrested Tuesday after police say he ran “illegal cage fighting” matches at a local training studio that he runs, a police spokesman said.
Thomas, 31, faces a felony prohibited competitions charge after police got a tip Oct. 19 about the matches at a facility he uses in St. Lucie West.
Inside, they observed two men fighting in an octagon-shaped ring surrounded by about 150 spectators. The fights reportedly weren’t sanctioned.
The silver lining in this was that the newspaper called Din “almost a legend in the ultimate fighting world”. Not too shabby for a TUF wash up, huh? Of course, it doesn’t make up for the downside: that the law is not on Din’s side. Here’s Florida’s laws regarding this:
548.008 Prohibited competitions.–
(1) No match involving amateurs which utilizes, but is not necessarily limited to, strikes or blows to the head may be held in this state unless it is sanctioned and supervised by an amateur sanctioning organization approved by the commission as required by this chapter.
(2) No amateur mixed martial arts match may be held in this state.
(3) No professional match may be held in this state unless it meets the requirements for holding the match as provided in this chapter and the rules adopted by the commission.
(4)(a) Any person participating in a match prohibited under this section, knowing the match to be prohibited, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) Any person holding, promoting, or sponsoring a match prohibited under this section commits a felony
This is a pretty big fucking deal … smokers (exhibition matches) are a massive part of amateur MMA. If police start throwing gym owners in jail because of them, who knows what’s next?
There’s enough grey area in MMA training to throw quite a few innocent people in jail. What constitutes an illegal fight? If these guys were wearing headgear would it have been considered sparring or fighting? If there were 50 people there instead of 150? Is the key component a $5 door fee?
A felony is pretty fucking serious business … this could end very badly for Din. There’s not enough details right now to say for sure what’s going on, but I don’t like this one bit. You better believe I’m gonna follow this closely and update on it as the story progresses.