UFC's Signing of "Hooligan" Benjamin Brinsa Sends Wrong Message

Tom Szczerbowski – USA TODAY Sports

The UFC recently signed German welterweight prospect Benjamin “The Hooligan” Brinsa. Looking at the Leipzig native’s resume in the cage, the acquisition might make sense, but his associations outside of his MMA career are troubling.

CagePotato reported on Wednesday that Brinsa has known ties to hooligan Neo-Nazi groups and interests in Germany:

“Brinsa is a member of the right-hooligan group “Scenario LOK” from Leipzig and posed behind a banner reading “ultras LOK – National Resistance.” In addition, he was with Thomas Persdorf, a nationally known neo Nazi and operator of the shipment “Front Records,” registered as a director of a company that managed the site “Aryan Brotherhood.” According to information from the Leipzig anti-fascist magazine “Gamma,” he is said to have worked as a janitor in the “national center” in Leipzig-Lindenau. Brinsa received a stadium ban in Leipzig due to his violence. He and his friend Christopher “Joker” Henze, also a member of the right-hooligan group “Scenario LOK,” were received with open arms by La Familia and courted as “two powerful new additions” with “aggressive fighting style.”

The site posted a few publicly-available newspaper articles that confirm the connections.

These revelations about Brinsa are not nearly as disturbing as the fact that the UFC appeared to be completely unaware of Brinsa’s background. UFC President Dana White reportedly tweeted that he would be looking into the claims about Brinsa, only to later delete the tweet.

So, not only is the most prestigious MMA organization on the planet caught with their pants down on this one, they also don’t seem to want anyone to know how clueless they really were about the issue.

The UFC now does extensive drug testing on each and every new fighter they sign, so why can’t they pay for a reasonable background check? It seems like their only out here would be to rescind whatever offer they presented to Brinsa, but that may be tough to do if a detailed contract is in effect. Brinsa would likely sue and win any civil case he files if he signed such a binding contract, only for the UFC to invalidate it because of his political beliefs.

Leaving Brinsa on the roster would only damage the public view of the top dog MMA promotion and complicate efforts to legalize the sport in locales that still have bans in place. It would also alienate millions of fans.

White might like fighters that people are always talking about, but only when the talk is about how they fight and not what kind of hateful causes they may be fighting for outside the cage.

Brinsa finished 11 out of 13 opponents with four knockouts and seven submissions to his credit, but the UFC may have to submit to public opinion and dump him from their welterweight division before they wind up with more negative publicity than they can handle over this controversial signing.