Bellator Fighting Championships will feature Dan McGuane on November 16 despite McGuane's prior conviction for beating a much smaller teenager to death.
Every time it seems like Bellator can't sink to a new low in their 2012 campaign, they manage to outdo themselves. First it was the questionable decision to give a paycheck to Brett Rogers after a brutal attack on his wife in front of their kids. Then it was the decision to continue to try to get War Machine in their cage, followed by releasing an ad with War Machine in a prison setting talking about being "fueled by hate."
But they've gone ever further into the pool of fighters convicted of violent offenses than ever before with Dan McGuane's booking for their next show.
A website by the name of BanDanMcGuane.com popped up recently and covers the backstory of McGuane's violent crimes. But it comes down to this, Dan and his twin brother, both very large men, beat a 155 pound kid :
At the time of the incident that led to his death, the victim was five feet, eight inches tall and weighed approximately 155 pounds. Each defendant was approximately six feet, four inches tall and weighed nearly 200 pounds.
On the evening of Saturday, July 2, 2005, the victim and his girlfriend, Jayme Rotondi, watched part of the town of Ayer's annual Independence Day fireworks at Pirone Park, but left early to avoid the crowds at the end of the display. As they left the park, the victim and Rotondi passed a group of at least six people walking toward the park. The group consisted of the defendants, Greg Shultz, an exchange student from Denmark, who was approximately the same size as the defendants, Brandi Livingston, Mary Papalucas and Sara Jones. Rotondi noticed one of the defendants staring at her; she smiled, then heard someone laugh. The victim stopped and asked Rotondi, "What are they laughing at?" Peter left the group and walked back toward the victim and asked, "Did you say something? Do you want me to beat your ass in front of your girl?" Papalucas positioned herself between Peter and the victim and said to Peter, "Don't do this, let's go." At that point, Peter reached over Papalucas's head and, with an open hand, slapped the victim across the face, knocking from his mouth a straw on which he had been chewing. After Peter slapped the victim, Daniel joined in the attack. Both defendants punched the victim several times. The victim began crawling, trying to escape the assault.
The fight gradually moved from the street to the curb, then onto the sidewalk, where the defendants forced the victim back up against a sport utility vehicle (SUV). Rotondi, in an attempt to break up the fight, jumped onto Daniel's back and scratched him, tearing his blue polo shirt. She was pulled off Daniel by Papalucas, who also tried unsuccessfully to break up the fight. One of the defendants shoved Papalucas and Rotondi aside, then Daniel kicked the victim in the chest. The victim fell to the ground and ended up under the SUV. The defendants walked away, leaving the victim under the SUV. As he left the scene, Peter said, "What do you have to say now?"
The victim remained under the SUV, lying on his chest, with blood coming from his nose. His breathing was labored. Papalucas told the victim it was okay to come out from under the SUV, but he was not responsive. She and some of the defendants' friends, who remained at the scene, pulled the victim from under the SUV. The victim was unconscious and his eyes were open but rolled back in his head.
There are plenty of articles out there about the case, with the McGuane brothers being sentenced on manslaughter charges which appeals failed to get overturned.
No one has the "right" to be granted a fighter's license and many states wouldn't issue one to someone with an offense this violent on their record, one of the reasons why a convicted rapist like Brandon Saling would leave it off his license application (the offense that got him suspended by the athletic commission).
The Rhode Island license application does have a line asking if you've ever been convicted of a crime, but I don't know that 2 lines is enough for the state to get nearly enough information on the background of a crime this violent. I have left messages with the commission asking them to call me and let me know if McGuane did disclose his criminal history.
But the real question here is: what the hell is Bellator doing?
I understand that Rogers has some name value, same with War Machine. If you're desperate for ratings and recognizable fighters, I suppose I can understand having them fight on your card. I'd probably edit Rogers' video packages to not have him call spousal abuse his "family situation" and I wouldn't advertise War Machine being "fueled by hate," but at least those make some sense as valuable names.
But Dan McGuane? He and his twin brother beat a kid to death in the street He doesn't deserve to fight for a living anywhere, and Bellator certainly shouldn't be helping him along and allowing him to use their platform to promote himself.
Doing so cheapens their promotion and drives potential hardcore consumers like me away. I won't be tuning in next weekend and giving a card with this booking my attention. I hope others choose to do the same. Send a message that the sport is better than this and that we expect more from a promotion in Bellator's position.