Earlier today, the State Attorney’s Office in Florida dropped felony charges against UFC-fighter Din Thomas after he was accused of running illegal fights at a local gym. News of these accusations came shortly after Thomas’s lost to Kenny Florian at UFC’s Ultimate Fight Night 11 on September 19. TCPalm broke the story only a few hours ago.
Thomas, 31, was originally charged with a felony count of running prohibited competitions following a tip to police about a “fight club” at a training studio in St. Lucie West. The crime was described by one prosecutor as promoting an activity not sanctioned by the Florida Boxing Commission, which has jurisdiction over professional boxing and mixed martial arts events.
Assistant State Attorney Jeff Hendriks said there was an exception to the law Thomas was arrested on: If all of the fighters are students of the school and the purpose of the event is training, then it is allowed. In addition, Thomas and the school did not profit from the event, as money was collected as part of a raffle and was later distributed.
“What is important is that the road patrol officers present had to determine whether they had probable cause to believe the statute was violated and given the information at the time, they acted appropriately,” Hendriks said in a statement. “I have a different, higher burden of proof, as well as the hindsight advantage of full knowledge of the facts from both sides and that is what formed my decision.”
Thomas fielded questions from the media in a conference call earlier today. I was a little too late to get on the call, but I will be sure to post more of news as it becomes available.
UPDATE: MMAJunkie.com made it on the conference call to hear some answers from Din Thomas. Head over there for a few of his thoughts.