In this day and age, doing something crazy or sinister will get you headlines faster than ever before, but doing something heinous that will endure the test of time is a bit trickier. It has to have all of the appropriate ingredients that captivate people. Here are a few that I’ve been thinking about recently, inspired by all the wild things that have been happening in America. Some of these incidents are of a higher profile than others, but we have some truly unique and often petrifying moments of insanity from our friends in the MMA community, and I thought it’d be interesting to comb through a few of them.
This column is not intended to judge these individuals for their involvement in these incidents. I am not the prosecutor, and I am not the defense. I am not a judge, jury, or Mexicutioner. Yes, I might cross the line with some of the comments I’m about to make, but that is not my intention. I am merely a guy who enjoys opining about these sorts of things to complete strangers who will probably have unkind things to say. Alas.
That Alexis Vila thing.
In 2004, Vila crashed his SUV into a Southwest Airlines ticket counter and blew through a wall at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Authoirities initially believed it was a terrorist act, but Vila maintains to this day that it was an accident. Regardless, this stunt landed him 3 years in prison, where “it’s no good. I’m a little guy so people who don’t know me try things all the time. So I fought alot.” Yikes.
Couple of things. First off, you’re thinking to yourself, “How could this be an accident?” Take a good, hard look at how much attention the average person pays to critical, potentially dangerous situations, such as driving or crossing a busy intersection on foot. The following is a short list of things I have seen while driving.
1. A girl walking across a busy intersection, with no crosswalk, child in one hand, phone in the other hand, looking at the phone and texting (or whatever people do on phones when they’re dragging a kid through a busy intersection without looking).
2. A guy sitting at a red light using his laptop, then continuing to use it after he started accelerating.
Alot of people don’t take driving seriously. Maybe Alexis didn’t either. I think that if this had happened at a McDonalds, they would have just called him an idiot and been done with it. But because it was at an airport, it was a terrorist act. Whatever. The guy served his time.
Lee Murray masterminds the Securitas depot heist.
Lee Murray is such a deranged human being that I’m surprised he didn’t become some sort of cult leader. It’s hard to know where to even begin when describing Murray’s indiscretions. He once famously punched out Tito Ortiz. He was a notorious bully and drug dealer around London, to the point that the police didn’t want to stop him for fear of confrontation. He stared a little too hard at Anderson Silva at a Cage Rage weigh in, to the point that the momentum of their combined tension sent them toppling into the Cage Rage backdrop. He had a huge mural of his lone UFC victory crafted, and displayed it on his wall (check out the hilarious mural in the sidebar and thank me later)
Most noteworthy, Murray was the mastermind behind the most lucrative bank heist in the history of the United Kingdom.
Murray and his gang pulled over the manager of the depot in what he thought was an unmarked police car; he was then placed in the back of the vehicle and handcuffed. At the depot, Murray’s men tied up 14 staff members and started taking money. This lasted for several hours. All in all, they escaped with just north of 53 million pounds. Not a bad night.
Murray then fled to Morocco, where he planned to live out his life spending that money. He was apprehended at a shopping center four days later, and has been in custody ever since. Moroccan officials were even, at one point, willing to extradite Murray back to the UK in exchange for suspected terrorist Mohamed Karbouzi.
The more you read about Murray, the higher your eyebrow starts to arch. Could any human being really be this much of a ghoul? I believe you can tell alot about a person by the way they behave after they’ve been caught and incarcerated. Some people can turn their lives around if they have the willpower, an appropriate amount of remorse, and a simple opportunity. Well, in 2009, Murray tried to escape from prison by starving himself and concealing hacksaw blades, hoping to be able to squeeze through the bars. The Shawshank Redemption, it wasn’t.
Concluding this article with a tangent about Quinton Jackson’s 2008 joyride seems a bit odd. After all, Jackson’s lowest moment isn’t holding a candle to Lee Murray’s, especially considering the “total time spent in custody” and “overall thought put into infamous faux pas” angles. But this was a sensational story, in the truest sense of the word. It had all the fixins’ of a sensation; a famous guy who had just lost his world championship belt 10 days earlier seemingly went off the deep end in the most public way possible. This probably makes me a fraudulent writer, but I’ll let Wikipedia take it from here:
On July 15, 2008, 10 days after losing his belt to Forrest Griffin, Jackson was arrested in Costa Mesa, California and booked on suspicion of felony reckless driving, and felony hit and run after striking several vehicles. He led pursuing officers on a chase while driving on the wrong side of the street and on city sidewalks in his lifted Ford F-350 with his picture painted on the side. During the chase, one of the tires blew out on his truck and he continued to flee while driving on his rims. White claimed that before the detainment, Jackson did not sleep for four days, had not been eating, and had only been drinking energy drinks and became mentally ill from dehydration. According to White, no drugs were found in Jackson’s system.
Okay … first and foremost … WHOA. Second, the fact that Dana White said there were no drugs in his system immediately makes me think that there were. Third, imagine being one of the police officers in pursuit of Rampage’s Ford F-350 (with his freaking picture painted on the side). Would you have thought it was Rampage? There’s no way, right? Alot of cops are MMA fans; if that had been me in pursuit, I imagine I would have thought something like “Oh God, some nutcase dedicated his truck to his fandom of Quinton Jackson, and now his stalker tendencies are manifesting themselves in the form of a dangerous, reckless ‘Why won’t Rampage answer my fan letters?’ driving spree.” And then, there’s Rampage! Had to have been a hell of a moment. Fourth, it’s hard to look at this incident and not conclude that it had something to do with the fact that Quinton had lost MMA’s most coveted belt 10 days earlier, which definitely played into the sensational angle of the story. Jackson lost, and he couldn’t take it, so he lost his mind! That sort of thing.
Another troubling fact to be taken away from this is that the media really got out of hand fast with the Hearsay and Rumor style of reporting. It happens almost every time a compelling story breaks. They just take it and run with it. For example, when this went down, it was rumored that, during Rampage’s ride, he struck a pregnant woman with his vehicle, allegedly breaking her water far too early in her pregnancy and resulting in the stillbirth of her child (When the woman made this claim, she asked for $25,000 in damages. 25K? That’s it? Can’t you just tell what kind of woman this is? You don’t even have to know her). Wouldn’t you want to verify that before you put it print? It turned out not to be true, but the media attitude nowadays is “Yeah, but wouldn’t it be crazy if it was?!?” Pump the brakes, folks.
How many of you folks consume energy drinks? Those things are ghastly. I’m definitely not a doctor, but I could completely see how not eating anything and drinking only energy drinks for days could send a man off the rails. I drank a Monster once, and I felt like I had just snorted an eight ball of cocaine and eaten a whole pack of Sweet Tarts at the same time. It blows me away that people drink these things on a regular basis. Throw in the fact that Rampage was on one of his crazy religious journeys, and here’s the result.
Don’t drink energy drinks. You will end up on the 10 o’clock news someday.