Mixed martial artists seem to get arrested more than the general public does. Why this is the case is up for debate, but one can probably assume that the skill required to be a good fighter doesn’t necessarily translate well in terms of being a good law-abiding citizen.
Some mixed martial artists have been arrested for serious crimes. When putting together this list, a few themes began to develop - the most notable of these is that mixed martial artists tend to get in trouble after they have been drinking, although that seems to be the case for the general public, as well.
Not all of the names on the list were arrested as a result of drunken actions, however; sometimes it was just a case of a MMA fighter being a little too eccentric and out there for the police to look too kindly on.
Out of all the times a mixed martial artist has been arrested under embarrassing circumstances, these are the top 10.
10 Quentin “Rampage” Jackson
“Rampage” Jackson is one of the most beloved MMA fighters of all time. A hilarious guy who also served as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, Jackson is a former champion in both Pride and the UFC.
In 2008, however, Jackson suffered a meltdown after losing his UFC Light Heavyweight title and led police on an epic chase in his self-branded monster truck.
According to Jackson, he hadn’t eaten or drank anything in days and suffered something of a psychotic breakdown. Jackson believed that his friend was going to commit suicide and that he needed to rush to save him. During the course of these events, Jackson is said to have driven over traffic dividers, and sent pedestrians scurrying to get out of his way.
Jackson now understands that his friend was never in danger and that he had suffered something of a break from reality.
9 Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen has cultivated a reputation for himself as something of a mixed martial arts “bad guy.” Nowhere is this image of him more widely held than in Brazil, where Sonnen was able to generate a big-money rivalry with Anderson Silva.
Turns out Sonnen is somewhat prone to bad guy tactics outside of the cage, as well. In 2011, Sonnen pled guilty to his part in a money laundering operation that involved him acting in the role of a shady real estate agent in a mortgage fraud operation.
As part of a plea agreement, Sonnen agreed to surrender his real estate license and pay a $10,000 fine.
8 Tito Ortiz
A potential return to fighting was hampered due to his early 2014 arrest for DUI after he crashed his Porsche in the wee hours of the morning after a night of partying in the Playboy Mansion. Photos of his damaged Porsche were made available online shortly after.
At one point, Tito Ortiz was the most recognizable face in the world of mixed martial arts, having been seen on all the posters and promotional materials. His late career became laughable, however, with him racking up a losing streak that spanned five years until he finally managed to beat Ryan Bader.
Ortiz has been removed from the UFC Hall of Fame.
7 Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz is a very popular fighter. He is also a guy that gets picked up for DUI quite frequently.
It should come as no surprise that following a DUI arrest in November 2013, Nick failed to show up for any of his court dates. He was then promptly picked up for DUI again in September 2014.
It was during this arrest that Diaz attempted to make himself vomit in order to circumvent the police field sobriety tests. Whether or not vomiting does circumvent police testing is not clear, but that didn’t stop Nick from trying!
Ultimately, Diaz would enter a plea agreement that resulted in him spending all of one day in jail.
6 Arianny Celeste
Everyone loves Arianny Celeste! The adorable UFC ring girl and former Playboy model is not immune to many of the legal troubles that others in the mixed martial arts community have faced. However, she was arrested for domestic violence in 2012.
Celeste was in a Las Vegas hotel when witnesses heard quite the commotion at around 4:30 a.m. Evidently, Celeste and her boyfriend got into an argument, and it got physical.
According to reports, Celeste borrowed a page out of the MMA fighter playbook and flat-out kicked her boyfriend right in the face. Arianny claims that her boyfriend had choked her before she kicked him.
Nobody seems sure of what happened, but the UFC fully supported her throughout the whole ordeal.
5 Junie Browning
Junie Browning made quite the name for himself during his brief UFC career. Browning was a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter and almost got kicked off the show for his drunken rage-filled antics (including jumping the cage after a fight he was not involved in).
Following a first round loss to Cole Miller in his UFC debut, Browning spiralled further out of control. In a possible suicide attempt, Browning took a bunch of pills and had to be hospitalized. During Browning’s hospital stay, he assaulted and threatened several nurses that were treating him, leading to his arrest. The UFC cut ties with Browning shortly after that.
Browning would retire from fighting in 2012 after losing five straight bouts.
4 Juliana Pena
If you are the owner or manager of a bar and Juliana Pena shows up after hours with some friends that are covered in blood, you should let her and her friends use your bathroom.
Pena and some of her teammates at Sikjitsu had been involved in some type of altercation in December 2015 that left Pena’s friend and teammate bloody. Pena and her training partner showed up at a bar and asked to use the washroom so that they could clean the blood off her friend's face. When the bar owners said no, Pena decided to beat them up, kicking the bar owner and an employee in the groin. Pena is one of the top female mixed martial artists in the world; you do not want to get kicked in the groin by her.
The UFC released a statement saying they were aware of Pena’s arrest, but would not take action until more information is known.
3 Diego Brandao
Diego Brandao is a former Ultimate Fighter season winner, and he also really likes strip clubs. He likes them so much that if security refuses him re-entry into one, he is willing to pull out a gun.
One would think that a professional athlete would realize how much he has to lose by acting in such a way, but not Brandao. The Brazilian fighter was arrested in New Mexico earlier this month after he pulled a gun on members of a strip club security team. It seems Brandao had gotten into a verbal altercation with the strip club DJ before leaving the establishment. Brandao evidently decided the argument was not over and tried to re-enter the club. When security denied Brandao re-entry, he pulled a gun and bashed somebody in the face with it.
He is being charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The UFC has since cut ties with the fighter.
2 Jason “Mayhem” Miller
Jason Miller is a ridiculous human being. Following his last UFC fight in 2012, Miller has been charged numerous times with domestic violence, as well as violating a court order by sending Snapchat messages to a person who had filed a restraining order against him.
In a more comedic, good-natured arrest, police also picked up Miller in 2013 for breaking into a church and sleeping naked there.
In October 2014, police attempted to arrest Miller for some of his various deeds, but Miller was not intent on going quietly. The SWAT team had to be called in to deal with a five-hour standoff between Miller and police. Always the entertainer, Miller live-tweeted during his standoff with the SWAT team.
He was arrested again in 2015 for assaulting some police officers.
1 Jon Jones
But Jones has had his problems outside of the cage, and they all came full circle when he was arrested for a hit-and-run in April 2015. Jones, who was the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at the time, ran a red light and caused a collision that involved his and two other vehicles. One of the vehicles contained a pregnant woman at the time of the collision. After the crash, Jones fled the scene, though he would return shortly after to take some money out of the car and then leave again.
Documents found in the car linked the vehicle to him, and witnesses also said they saw a guy who looked a lot like Jon Jones fleeing the scene. Jones was stripped of the Light Heavyweight title following the incident.