Women's bantamweight Jessamyn Duke returns to the UFC Saturday after a yearlong absence from cage fighting. She probably wishes her absence from street fighting was equally as long.
In fairness, the lowlifes who attacked Duke and her friends probably wished the same thing, after Duke, fellow professional women's bantamweight Shayna Baszler and amateur Justin Pierpoint put the hurt on two scumbags last fall after a grappling seminar.
Earlier this month, Duke told the story to Yael Grauer of the Sports Post. Apparently, a fan in a wheelchair was waiting for her ride after the seminar. The three fighters waited with the fan. And waited. And waited. After several hours, a woman and a man "in gang and Satan tattoos" showed up. Baszler made a comment about the wait time, after which point the couple decided they would not be giving the fan a ride at all.
That's when things got a little intense:
We’re telling them, ‘this is neglectful! You guys are seriously going to leave her? We’ve apologized! We said we were sorry! This is crazy.' We’re begging them not to leave her and trying to smooth things over but both of them were like, ‘Nope. Nope.’
Apparently not recognizing any of the fighters, the couple became aggressive. The woman hit Duke in the head with a bat, causing a gash. As Grauer described it:
After completing [a] snake disarm, Duke had the bat close to her thighs. She kneed the girl and lifted her off the ground, and then saw Baszler out of her peripheral vision. Baszler lifted the girl up, and the girl lost her grip on Duke’s shirt and the bat, ripping Duke’s shirt half off in the process. Baszler took her down to the ground, mounted her, held her in a gift wrap, and meanly ground her face into the asphalt.
Meanwhile, Pierpoint had subdued the man—with prejudice.
I have her in a rear-naked choke, and the guy is screaming at us, ‘Please let us go! We’re so sorry! Please don’t kill her! Don’t kill her!’ ... We let them drive off and we shouldn’t have. We should’ve held them and called the cops.
They did eventually call the police, who commended the fighters for their actions. Police are still searching for the two scumbags.
As for the fan? Her caretaker faces obstruction of justice charges, according to the Sports Post article, for refusing to inform on the assailants. The girl also was removed from her house and placed in a new home.
Let's hope there's a little less drama this Saturday, when Duke faces Elizabeth Phillips on the Fight Pass portion of the UFC on Fox 16 undercard.