After a car accident that leaves two people dead, Desmond Green reopens wounds of MMA’s abusive reputation.
Mixed martial arts has a damaged reputation. For all the amazing heights the sport has seen, it cannot separate the destructive tendencies of a few of the sports’ stars.
UFC lightweight Desmond Green was arrested and jailed Tuesday on 20 separate charges. The most serious one of DUI manslaughter stems from a car crash August 2018 that left two women dead.
The 29-year-old Rochester, NY native was in custody as of Thursday afternoon at the Broward County (Fla.) Main Jail. His bonds total $194,000, according to online records.
A warrant for his arrest was issued on June 19.
Green was a member of the famed Blackzillian’s camp in South Florida.
Once founder, Glenn Robinson died from a heart attack in September 2018, the team broke up. Many fighters including fellow UFC fighter Michael Johnson and Green migrating to former head trainer Henri Hooft’s Hkickboxing camp.
The crash happened early on the morning of Aug. 18, 2018, on a Florida freeway. Allegedly, Green veered his 2011 Dodge Durango into the path of a truck with a trailer attachment in the next lane causing a chain reaction.
Three other vehicles became involved.
The force of the impact caused one of the vehicles to hit a guard rail and flip over, killing two passengers – Emelina Morfa, 67, and Emma Suarez Hernandez, 76 – while seriously injuring the driver. Green and another driver were treated for minor injuries.
Unfortunately, Green faces a litany of charges.
Two second-degree felony counts of DUI manslaughter; four third-degree felony counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury; third-degree felony possession of cocaine; five misdemeanor counts of DUI property damage; and third-degree felony driving with a suspended license.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Green was driving with suspended licenses in Florida and New York. Apparently, he has previous car accidents. State prosecutors said Green cited multiple convictions in Florida and New York for driving without license and more to grant a warrant.
Two weeks prior to the accident, Green had a vehicular crash. He pleaded no contest for driving with a suspended license and no proof of insurance. He also was pulled over in April 2018 for expired registration tags. The officer who arrested him said “a smell of cannabis emitted from the vehicle” and Green admitted to having marijuana and “mushrooms” in the vehicle. An arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear on charges for the marijuana and expired tags. He was able to reverse the order and postpone his appearance.
A witness saw him exit the vehicle and throw a metal cannabis grinder over a concrete traffic barrier. A nearby off-duty police officer found the object, made contact with Green and observed him to be intoxicated. The officer also noticed a small bag of white powder “in plain view” on the front passenger seat of Green’s truck.
The substance was later tested and determined to be cocaine.
On-scene officers said Green slurred his speech and smelled of alcohol. The toxicology report confirmed a positive test for cannabinoids, THC and a blood-alcohol level of 0.14, according to the affidavit.
Green’s legal troubles did not stop him from fighting in the octagon. He faced Mairbek Taisumov just one month after the deadly collision and lost a unanimous decision. He went on to fight twice more, picking up consecutive wins, including a decision over Charles Jourdain in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y.
With extreme drug and alcohol abuse examples like Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver leading to life imprisonment after he inflicted serious on former girlfriend Christy Mack, MMA is still back peddling from its athlete’s issues.
Although there is a fighter summit to address financial and social media marketing concerns, no therapist has been assigned universally to the athletes.
It can be conceded that it is not the promoter’s obligation to make sure a fighter does the right thing outside of the cage. However, with fighters repeatedly having DUI’s, drug usage, and now unfortunate deaths, there needs to be more attention on life outside of the gym or gilded fighting surfaces.