It’s been a strange, strange, strange day for two former UFC fighters. Before today, former WEC Lightweight Champion and one-time UFC Lightweight Championship contender Hermes Franca had little in common with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez. However, today both men share the rather dubious similarity of having the news about their recent arrests hitting the internet on the same day. Both Franca and Rodriguez face some pretty serious charges that. Here are all the details.
MMA Junkie brings word of Rodriguez’s arrest. According to their report, Rodriguez assaulted a taxi driver that was taking him to a bar. Rodriguez apparently threw the man to the ground and resisted arrest when the police arrived. Rodriguez would later be charged with both assault and resisting arrest.
You think that’s bad, fans and friends? It gets far worse in the case of Hermes Franca.
We head to the one and only Sherdog for an official report. Apparently, Hermes Franca was recently arrested and charged with “seven counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and two counts of unlawful sexual penetration in the second degree.” The report also states that Franca’s bail has been set at a quarter of a million dollars.
The Examiner, the first outlet to break the story, shed some interesting light on what type of jail time Franca is looking at if he is convicted: “Both crimes fall under Oregon’s Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentencing for serious crimes, carrying a minimum term of 75 months each.”
Multiple sources have also been reporting that the Maximum Fighting Championship promotion, one of several promotions Franca fought in post-UFC and the promotion where he was in fact scheduled to fight for a championship in his next fight, has issued a press release stating that Franca has been fired and is no longer welcome at MFC.
There’s a single, simple word that perfectly summarizes my reaction to both these news stories.
But it’s not as simple as that, not really. It’s more of a “Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaaat????!!!”
This is an incredibly bizarre pair of stories, and I really don’t know how to react to them. I was never a big fan of Ricco Rodriguez, but I never had any real problem with the man. He seemed to be winning a lot lately and he seemed to be lobbying pretty hard to get into the UFC again, but that’s definitely off the table now. Rodriguez is a massive Heavyweight, so I don’t doubt that it took several police officers to restrain him if he resisted arrest.
Letting your temper get the better of you is bad enough, especially for a professional athlete, but I’m utterly shocked at the charges against Hermes Franca. I think I’d even be outright sickened if Franca was convicted of them. Like Rodriguez, I was never a big fan but had no real problems with the man and was even entertained by him a time or two. But seven counts of sexual abuse? That’s “scum of the earth” material right there. You just don’t come back from that if you’re convicted, and in the court of public opinion, you’ll probably never come back from that period.
I’m not going to rush to any snap judgments. Call me a hopeless optimist or an idiot, but I believe in this country’s legal system and I think everyone will get their fair day in court. But if Ricco Rodriguez is found guilty, I think he needs to take a long, hard look at his life and hopefully learn to keep his anger inside the cage and not outside of it, hurting men that aren’t professional fighters and are well below his massive size. And if Hermes Franca is found guilty, I honestly hope he rots in jail.
And what about you, fans and friends? What’s your reaction to this pair of stories?