Former UFC Fighter Paul Kelly Convicted on Heroin Trafficking Charges in UK

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor IMay 17, 2013

Paul Kelly (photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.com)
Paul Kelly (photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.com)

Former UFC fighter Paul Kelly awaits sentencing now after being convicted on heroin trafficking charges in an England court on Friday.

Kelly, who competed in the UFC a total of nine times while amassing a 5-4 record overall, found himself in hot water after being arrested last year as part of a drug sting operation.  Kelly last fought in the Octagon in 2011 in a Fight of the Night effort as he lost to Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone by rear-naked choke.

At the time, Kelly professed his innocence on Twitter proclaiming that there were "no cash, no drugs, no sting!" and continued by saying "Just to clarify yes my house was raided by mersyside matrix division who found no drugs or anything of any criminal nature."

Kelly remained positive just a day ago, before the verdict was read and he took to Twitter once more to gain support from those who believed in his innocence.

paul kelly @paulkellymma

"@ParogersAntony: "@Markdev8: Good luck today boys @ParogersAntony @paulkellymma #notguilty"#notguilty" #notguilty

Now almost a year to the day after his initial arrest, Kelly was found guilty of trafficking heroin and faces a lengthy jail sentence for the conviction.

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According to a report from the Liverpool Echo, Kelly and two friends, were convicted on charges stemming from raids between 2011 and 2012 that accused the former UFC fighter of being involved in a large drug syndicate in England.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Kelly's financial situation worsened after he was cut from the UFC in 2011.  The fighter stated he was making close to $100,000 a year and did not need to deal drugs for money.

The jury disagreed, and after a four-day trial Kelly was found guilty in a unanimous vote.  The judge who was overseeing the proceedings believed that it was Kelly who was the boss of the group of men convicted of the heroin trafficking charges.

The Liverpool Echo reported that when the verdict was read, Kelly ripped up from his seat shouting "I've got two kids!" while his father had to be thrown out of the courtroom due to an outburst.

With the conviction now secured, Kelly was taken into custody where he will await sentencing next month.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report

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