Most MMA fans, save for the hardcore contingent, had never heard the name "Brandon Saling" before. However, that all changed when he was featured on the Showtime Extreme undercard of the Strikeforce main event featuring Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey.
Once word hit the streets that Saling had been charged and convicted for not only domestic violence, but had been pulled up on a more heinous crime of pedophilia, the MMA world was up in arms, and demanded answers as to why he was even considered for a spot in the event, given his past history.
With that in mind, Saling’s transgression put him in the category of worst human beings in MMA.
Needless to say, he isn’t alone in warranting the aforesaid tag, as professional mixed martial arts has had its fair share of despicable characters.
Here they are.
Erstwhile mixed martial artist, Mike “Iron Mike” Whitehead fought for various promotions including the UFC and Strikeforce. He also compiled a relatively impressive record of 27 wins against seven defeats, but that’s about all she wrote for the Oregon native.
In January of 2012, Whitehead was convicted of attempted sexual assault on a female who, along with a friend, had visited and stayed overnight at his Las Vegas pad.
The presiding judge, Douglas Herndon, sentenced the 30-year-old to spend between one to four years in prison. For his transgressions, Whitehead will have to register as a sex offender for the duration of his existence.
In 2004, at aged 18, Brandon “White Steel” Saling and accomplice James Allen, also 18, were charged with first-degree felony rape, following the alleged unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. For that infraction, Saling was placed on the sex offenders list.
Four years later, Saling was given a 40-day jail term for a domestic violence charge.
It’s safe to say that Saling isn’t your average MMA fighter—he sports at tattoo with the symbols "88” which denotes the Nazi greeting of “Heil Hitler.” Enough said.
There are two reasons why Saling was able to slip through the net and hence appear on the Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey fight card.
First, he failed to disclose (flagrantly lied) that he was a registered sex offender on his application forms to both the Ohio and New Jersey Athletic Commissions—a violation that lead to his license being revoked and could also result in his indefinite suspension from all professional MMA activities.
And secondly, but more importantly, no one in the San Jose or Zuffa-based promotions felt the need to run a spot check on Saling, thus giving him carte blanche to engage in the hexagon that night.
That said, Saling has amassed an 8-6 record, having debuted in 2011, with 11 of those fights taking place in said year.
Retired fighter Patrick “Pat” Smith (20-15 MMA) has a conviction for sexual assault on a child going back as far as 1999. For said crimes, the 48-year-old Smith was re-arrested for failing to register as a sex offender.
Smith, who fought and lost to Ken Shamrock in the inaugural UFC 1: The Beginning, has a 4-2 record in the Zuffa-based promotion.
Joe Son (0-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is currently incarcerated in Wasco State Prison without the possibility of parole.
The South Korean’s present plight came about due a dirty trick of fate or in his case a well deserved karma intervention.
In 2008, the 5’4” heavyweight fighter was placed on probation after pleading guilty to felony vandalism. Following a requisite DNA sample, Son was implicated in a 1990 gang rape of a teenage girl (now 41).
At first, he was charged with five counts of rape, two felony counts of forcible sodomy, two felony counts of sodomy in concert by force, seven felony counts of forcible oral copulation and one felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object by force.
However, those charges were later dropped due to the statue of limitations, he was instead charged with conspiracy to torture and commit murder, the former of which cost the 41-year-old his liberty.
At present, Son who played the character Random Task in the motion flick, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is presently faced with a charge of first-degree murder after he killed his cellmate, a convicted sex offender.
Son’s words to the gang raped victim: “It’s Christmas. This is your lucky day.”
Jarrod Wyatt, allegedly intoxicated by wild mushroom tea he had consumed, went ballistic on his training partner Taylor Powell. Fearing he was the devil, Wyatt, in maniacal frenzy cut out his tongue, tore off most his facial features and ripped out one of his eyes. He also cut out Powell’s heart whilst he was still alive.
Wyatt, who up until then had competed in his one and only professional bout (a TKO victory over Seth Stanfil), told the investigating officers that he’d chucked the heart and other internal organs into the fire, to ensure the devil (Powell) was dead.
Wyatt’s alleged words to one of the officers were “Satan was in that dude.”
At present, Wyatt is up on a capital murder charge which could either constitute a life term in jail or the death penalty.
For additional information, follow Nedu Obi on Twitter.