Every MMA fighter should take note of this odd case with former UFC welterweight champ Matt Hughes.
Hughes settled out of court last week on a case that dates back to the Friday before UFC 64 at Mandalay Bay. Jed Leist, a former police officer in Rockmart, Georgia, asked for a photo with Hughes during UFC's autograph session.
Mike Sloan of Sherdog.com tells the story:
An anonymous source in the fight community who was not an eyewitness to the incident told Sherdog.com that Leist approached Hughes and asked the wrestler to put him in a rear-naked choke for a photo.
According to the source, Hughes obliged Leist's requests for him to tighten the choke "for realism" and forced Leist to tap out. Hughes then walked away, though Leist appeared to be nearly choked unconscious.
Leist filed suit in Clark County District Court on March 28, 2007:
The suit contended Hughes and/or other unnamed defendants "grabbed and placed" Leist in a hold "as to cause injury and damage." Hughes' actions were "unwanted, not consented or authorized," by the plaintiff and inflicted "over his protests," stated the documents.
Prior to the dismissal, Leist was seeking damages in excess of $10,000 per each charge plus attorney's fees and additional expenses due to "severe humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress."
The case was due in court on June 30, Hughes settled. It couldn't have been too big a blow to Hughes' bankroll since Leist sounds like a slimeball and is facing 20 years in a federal pen.
According to the Rome News-Tribune, Leist hid a felonious past in order to become a police officer. He also lied to the FBI:
For some time before Jedson Edward Leist applied to become a police officer, he and Sgt. Carey Higgins of the Rockmart police conspired about how to keep a background check from finding Leist’s felony convictions.
Leist is also accused of avoiding another background check, that done by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a gun is purchased.
He allegedly had his wife buy many firearms, some of which he used at RPD. In testimony it was revealed Arneth purchased “between 20 and 30” firearms, according to ATF records. When arrested Leist had three of those guns on his person and several more at home.
The case went to trial in November of 2007 and Leist was sentenced earlier this year on February 28th. This from the U.S. Department of Justice:
JEDSON EDWARD LEIST, 36, of Acworth, Georgia, was sentenced this morning to 20 years in federal prison by United States District Judge Robert L. Vining, Jr., for crimes including false statements; wire and mail fraud; possession of a firearm by a felon and by a domestic violence misdemeanant; and a mail and wire fraud scheme involving the use of fake fingerprints.
United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, "The evidence proved that Leist, with help from his wife, circumvented the gun laws that prohibit a convicted felon from possessing a firearm."
With a set of clean fingerprints and help from a co-conspirator, Leist lied to the Rockmart Police Department and the FBI so that he could acquire a badge and carry a gun despite his criminal past. In convicting Leist, the jury unequivocally condemned these criminal acts as unacceptable. The 20 year prison sentence speaks for itself.
LEIST was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.
The next fighter to be sued? Maybe Phil Baroni.
Paulie Howard of ESPNRadio1100 was forced to tap 17 times before Baroni let go of the hold at a recent party in Las Vegas. Howard's eyesight was damaged. He received lasik surgery to repair the damage less than a month later.