TMZ.com broke the news Wednesday of Bellator lightweight Roger Huerta's involvement in a street fight in Austin, Texas last weekend. His involvement came once a woman was punched in the back of the head, says TMZ.
Here is TMZ's account of the situation:
Once Huerta sees the woman collapse to the ground -- he instantly tries to confront the attacker saying, "You just punched a f**kin' girl."
Moments later, Huerta takes off his shirt ... slams his hat to the ground ... and rushes after the man.
Chaos ensues and people scramble after the fighters, blocking the camera -- but seconds later ... a shirtless Huerta can be seen finishing his attack on the other man ... who is sprawled out on the street.
People rush in to aid the bloody man on the ground -- who eventually gets off the pavement -- as Huerta walks away from the battle ground.
The question must be asked: Should Bellator punish Huerta for his involvement in the fight?
The National Football League has its "personal conduct policy" which states: "Engaging in violent and/or criminal activity is unacceptable and constitutes conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League. Such conduct alienates the fans on whom the success of the League depends and has negative and sometimes tragic consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator."
Now, don't get me wrong, I think Huerta did the right thing on general principle. But since this wasn't self defense and Huerta, by all accounts, went after the man, it opens up the question of whether or not Huerta should face punishment from Bellator for participating in such actions.
Huerta put himself in that situation and it will be interesting to see if a) law enforcement officials in Austin, Texas bring up charges on him and b) If Bellator has the contractual power to punish him, will they?
As a professional mixed martial artist, Huerta is trained with skills that could potentially kill people. And as we know, any fight can turn deadly quickly. From the video, someone, presumably a friend of Huerta's, comes running over to him as he takes his shirt off yelling "Roger! Roger!" obviously trying to stop him. Then Huerta takes off flying after the man after it appeared another person tried to get to him.
Regardless of motivation, Huerta, as a professional, has to know better than to partake in things like this. It's clear seeing a defenseless woman get hit set him off, and judging by his manager's comments to TMZ ("I have not spoken to Roger yet about this incident, but I can say that it's in his nature to be very protective of women."), it seems clear there is some sort of history as it pertains to situations like this.
As a man, Huerta stood up for what he believed in and took vigilante action that he deemed appropriate. Although I find it difficult to commend street violence, he was taking a stand against someone who hit a defenseless woman and took action that nearly every one of us would contemplate doing. However, as a professional, Huerta's actions need to be looked at seriously and the potential consequences need to be weighed.
I honestly don't know what the correct and prudent action is here. This is such a different situation that toes many different lines. UFC president Dana White probably said it best when he told TMZ, "In no way do I condone street fighting, but when a guy puts his hands on a woman he deserves to be knocked the f*ck out. Good for Roger."