Lee Murray. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
UFC veteran “Lightning” Lee Murray has been sentenced to 10 years in a Moroccan prison for his part in the Securitas cash depot heist.
Murray was said to be the “mastermind” behind the heist that saw a team of thieves steal £53 million ($77 million) from a Kent Securitas depot in Tonbridge, England. Due to Murray’s Moroccan background, authorities were unable to get Murray extradited back to the U.K. to stand trial.
Rashad Evans. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
— Rashad Evans says that a light heavyweight clash against fellow contender Thiago Silva could be possible for a UFC event in December or early next year. “Thiago Silva is a good fighter, I’d like to fight him and I think he wants to fight me,” Evans said. “When I saw him after he fought Keith Jardine, he kind of gave me a nasty look that I interpreted like he wanted to take me on, and I’d like that.” [MMA FanHouse]
— Two-time UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled debut with Japan-based DREAM after suffering a broken hand during his first-round TKO of Jason Riley at Adrenaline MMA IV last weekend. According to Sylvia’s manager, Monte Cox, the Miletich Fighting Systems product will now attempt to land a spot on the DREAM and K-1 co-promoted “Dynamite!!” show on New Year’s Eve. [Sherdog.com]
Lee Murray enters the arena for his fight against Jorge Rivera at UFC 46: Supernatural. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
If you were a fan of mixed martial arts before the sport benefited from the mainstream explosion it felt after the success of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Lee Murray is a pretty familiar name.
Not clicking? Here’s a refresher course…
Murray is best known for his single appearance in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2004, his infamous street fight against Tito Ortiz, and going the distance with Anderson Silva in a Cage Rage event the same year. After that, things took a turn for the worst for Murray.
He was nearly killed after being stabbed outside of a London night club in 2005, undergoing multiple surgeries to repair a punctured lung and severed arteries. Murray was then arrested in Morocco in June of 2006 in connection with the biggest robbery in United Kingdom history, a $92 million heist of UK-based Securitas AB.
The latest issue of Sports Illustrated has a profile piece on Murray’s rise and ultimate downfall. It chronicles Murray’s MMA career, the events leading up to his arrest, and his continuous attempts to be extradited back to England. Murray currently remains in a Moroccan prison, awaited his latest extradition trial.
(I haven’t read the entire piece yet and haven’t been able to find any parts of the article online. However I’ll finish the article over the weekend and make a follow-up post in the coming days.)
After watching UFC 79 and hearing all of the discussion about how Matt Hughes and Matt Serra were originally supposed to fight but Serra pulled out with an injury, I got to thinking. It wasn’t the first time that a situation like that occurred.
So I sat down and did some research. There were actually a good number of fights in the UFC that were signed and slated to happen but ended up not taking place for one reason or another. The final number was a lot higher than I expected so I went ahead and narrowed the list down to the fights that would have been the best if they were to happen at the time.
So here they are. I’ve sorted them starting with the most recent and excluding Hughes-Serra. Each instance is pretty interesting.
Evan Tanner vs Jeremy Horn (UFC 59): The two long-time MMA veterans were set to clash at UFC 59 in what was unofficially an “elimination” bout for the two of them. Horn had split his two return bouts in the UFC while Tanner had lost two straight, including his middleweight title. The bout would have been an interesting chess match between two slick grapplers but Horn ended up pulling out after injuring his back during training. Justin Levens replaced Horn and Tanner went on to submit Levens in the first round of their bout. Horn was released shortly after defeating Chael Sonnen at UFC 60.
Matt Hughes vs Karo Parisyan (UFC 56): After losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 46, Parisyan went ahead and racked up three straight wins over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, and Matt Serra to earn a title shot against then-champion Matt Hughes. The anticipated welterweight showdown was set to headline the event until Parisyan was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering an elbow injury during training. Joe Riggs stepped in for Parisyan and ended up failing to make weight, costing him his shot at the title. Hughes would go on to submit Riggs in a non-title bout and wouldn’t defend his belt again until UFC 63, making it over a full year since the welterweight title was contested. To this day, Parisyan is still yearning for another shot at the title.
Above is an official preview video for UFC 79 courtesy of the UFC as well as a preview for tonight’s UFC All-Access with Wanderlei Silva.
News and Notes
-White Chocolate Management has filed a lawsuit against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and his manager, Juanito Ibarra because of a breach of contract the two had with the company.
According to Sherdog, WCM was forced to file a lawsuit after Ibarra went out of his way to block all incoming transactions and deals offered to Jackson:
WCM President Reed Wallace is asking for $10,000,000 in damages after being “forced into filing the lawsuit by Rampage’s manager Juanito Ibarra, who ‘bad mouthed’” WCM, according to a news release issued by the plaintiff on Thursday.
Wallace said that while the fighter remained friendly, the champion’s manager has “rejected or blocked all transactions and deals offered to Rampage from WCM. Ibarra then went behind WCM and contacted or had his agent contact those very same parties that WCM brought to the table.”
- The mother of UFC middleweight Drew McFedries was found dead in a Davenport, Iowa alleyway according to a report by The Quad-City Times:
The woman who was found dead in an alley in Davenport was the victim of a homicide, an autopsy revealed, though police are not saying exactly how. Agnes McFedries-Kennedy, 51, was found Saturday evening lying in the alley in the 1800 block between West 7th and West 8th streets. A couple returning to a residence near the scene discovered the body.
All of us at MMA on Tap would like to send our condolences to Drew and his family.
- Every long-time MMA fan loves to read about past adventures involving Lee Murray. Here’s Pat Miletich’s account of the infamous street fight between Murray and Tito Ortiz through the words of Matt Hughes via his new book.
Ever wonder why a lot of people don’t like Hughes? Be sure to check this out.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for both of the finds.
- Din Thomas expects to return to action in March according to a recent interview with The Fight Network.
- Jarry Park has a preview of all of the New Year’s Eve MMA events going on.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- MMA Weekly has released their latest World MMA Rankings and has also added the featherweight division to the list.
- Juanito Ibarra has told the Orange County Register that Michael Bisping is considering a move down to 185 lbs:
Juanito said Bisping is destined to be a UFC champion. He hinted that Bisping might be moving out of the 205-pound weight class in the future. Bisping confirmed he believes he can make the 185-pound limit. Bisping’s dynamic striking and the added strength he would have at a lower weight class would make him a serious force, as if he weren’t a force already. Bisping said he has a nine-fight contract with the UFC and he wants to take his time moving up the ladder and improving with each fight.
- It seems that British officials have discovered that UFC veteran Lee Murray was behind the largest cash robbery in the country’s history:
A professional cage fighter currently in jail in Morocco has been identified as one of the main conspirators in Britain’s largest cash robbery. An Old Bailey jury has heard it suggested the fighter probably started planning the raid, at the Securitas depot in Tonbridge in February last year, as early as July 2005.
The fighter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have bought custom-made surveillance equipment from a security expert and inquired about tracking devices and scanners. He is in custody in Rabat, Morocco, awaiting extradition proceedings. Police hope to bring him back to this country to stand trial next year.
The News Shopper states that the fighter can’t be named because of possible legal ramifications but I think many MMA fans that have been following the sport since 2004 are aware that it’s “Lightning” Lee.
- K-1 has named 12 of the 16 fighters that will compete in the 2007 K-1 World Grand Prix: Hong Man Choi, Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Glaube Feitosa, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome LeBanner, Stefan Leko, Ruslan Karaev, Chalid Arrab, Mighty Mo Siliga, Badr Hari, and Paul Slowinski.
- UFC Junkie has announced a partnership with Yahoo! Sports…
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Our coverage of UFC 72 is going to be great as usual. Expect an official preview, some tap selections (that includes celebrity predictions), weigh-in results, a media roundup, live blog, and much more…
- Nate Diaz and Manny Gamburyan defeated Gray Maynard and Joe Lauzon respectively last night to move on to The Ultimate Fighter 5 finals on June 23rd.
- Tagg Radio had PRIDE light heavyweight contender Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on yesterday
to talk about fellow Team Quest teammate Dan Henderson’s remark about Sokoudjou getting a poor contract offer from the UFC:
I don’t deal with contract stuff, too much English for me. I just know from my manager and Dan that they were negotiating on my contract. I usually don’t want to get into too much detail. I tried to read my contract with Pride, it was too much for me so I let Team Quest handle that part of my career. They know better than me.
- Carlos Arias from the Orange County Register is reporting that UFC 76 will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
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UFC veteran Lee Murray has been arrested in Morocco for his connection in the 53 million pound heist from a cash depot in Tonbridge, Kent.