Former UFC fighter Paul Kelly was today convicted of trafficking heroin and faces a lengthy jail sentence.
Kelly last fought for the UFC in February of 2011 (UFC 126), where he lost to Donald Cerrone and was subsequently cut from the Organisation. He has since fought for the SFL, UCMMA and most recently, in March, for the UWC.
After a 4 day trial the jury delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty to Kelly and long term friend Paul Rogers. Another friend, Christopher St John McGirr, had already previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a class ‘A’ drug last year.
The judge declared that he felt Kelly had been the “Boss” of the organisation and he will be remanded in custody while he awaits sentencing. After the verdict was announced Kelly shouted from the dock “I’ve got 2 kids” and his father had to me removed from the court room.
This will likely bring more negative press attention towards MMA here in the UK given the relatively high profile of Kelly and we can expect to see the term ‘Cage Fighter’ used at any given opportunity. While Paul’s actions are obviously reprehensible, it is important to remember that the vast majority of the UK’s Mixed Martial Artists are hard working, law abiding, productive members of society and that both them, and the sport as a whole, should not be tarnished due to the actions of one man.
It is fair to say that after this conviction, regardless the length of jail time he receives, Paul’s fighting days are over.