Former UFC Fighter Paul Kelly Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor IJune 15, 2013

Former UFC fighter Paul Kelly will spend the next 13 years in prison after being convicted and sentenced for heroin trafficking in his home country of England.

Kelly last fought in the UFC in 2011 in a losing effort to Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.  Since that time, he had been competing in regional shows, with his last two bouts taking place in England.

The British lightweight was arrested last year in connection with a drug dealing ring.  Kelly was accused of being the mastermind behind it all.

In mid-May, Kelly was found guilty on heroin trafficking charges and now sits in a jail cell where he will spend the next 13 years of his life.

As reported by Gary Stewart of the Liverpool Echo, Kelly was sentenced by Judge Mark Brown, who took little pity on the father of two while laying out a multitude of charges in connection with his conviction.  Judge Brown stated during the sentencing hearing:

You are an individual who has traveled widely in the course of MMA and as such would have contacts abroad.  It is significant that the seizures involved large amounts of import quality heroin.  In my judgment you decided to supply Class A drugs when your contract with UFC was terminated.  You obviously enjoyed the high life and saw selling heroin as a way to make easy money.

According to the report, Kelly made up to £100,000 a year when he was fighting in MMA, but following his UFC release in 2011, he allegedly turned to a life of crime when the money dried up.

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During his time with the UFC, Kelly went 5-4 overall while earning two Fight of the Night bonuses.

At 28 years of age, Kelly will now head to prison for the next 13 years, which will all but end his fighting career, unless his sentence is overturned or he makes parole in the next few years.

The report from the Liverpool Echo did not state if Kelly's attorneys were planning on filing an appeal or seeking other legal actions to try and fight the sentencing.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

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