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Driver pleads guilty to manslaughter in relation to death of MMA fighter Jordan Parsons

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Jordan Parsons, who fought for Bellator MMA, was 25-years-old at the time of his passing.

Delray Beach Police Department

Last week, Dennis Michael Wright, 30, plead guilty to DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in connection to the 2016 hit-and-run killing of MMA fighter Jordan Parsons. Wright, who had been under house arrest until his bond was revoked this April, plead guilty as part of a plea deal.

My Palm Beach Post reports that Wright’s deal with prosecutors in Palm Beach County, FL means he will receive a 10 year prison sentence if he, “tells the truth about his alcohol consumption and actions on April 30/31, including the speed he was driving when he struck and killed (Parsons) and his actions from the time he struck (Parsons) until the time he turned himself in.” Wright’s sentencing hearing is currently scheduled for August 29th.

In addition to his prison sentence, Wright’s plea deal will force him to carry a photo of Parsons on his person at all times. Wright will also be mandated to speak at local schools about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Jordan Parsons, 25, was struck by Wright’s vehicle just after midnight on May 1st, 2016 while he was crossing the street at South Federal Highway and Lindell Boulevard in Delray Beach, Fl. Police believe Wright, in a 2013 Range Rover, was traveling at speeds between 100 and 120 mph.

After Parsons was hit, Wright left the scene. Parsons was then taken to Delray Beach Medical Center. After multiple surgeries Parsons passed away on May 4th.

Police say that immediately after the incident Wright took his car to a body shop for repairs, but he was turned away. Wright is then alleged to have hidden his car in storage. An anonymous tipster contacted police and informed them of Wright’s involvement in the crime. Wright was arrested shortly after.

Wright had been arrested multiple times for drinking and driving before causing the death of Parsons. He was arrested in 2008 in Boca Raton for driving under the influence, but those charges were dropped. Between then and 2016 he was charged with reckless driving, failing to appear, possession of marijuana, driving with a suspended license, and resisting arrest. In 2012 he was ordered to seek substance abuse counseling and refrain from using alcohol.

Parsons was a member of the Blackzillians MMA team, having moved to South Florida from Michigan. At the time of his death he held a professional MMA record of 12-2. Parsons last three fights all occurred in Bellator, with his last fight taking place on November 20th, 2015. He was killed just two weeks before he was scheduled to fight again for Bellator, on May 14th, 2018.

In 2016 Bellator MMA, in partnership with J Robinson Intensive Wrestling Camps and Parsons’ family, set up a memorial scholarship fund in Parsons’ name. The 2018 recipient of that scholarship is Jaden Ramos, a sophomore from Redwood HS in Greenbrae, California. Thanks to the fund, Ramos will be able to attend a wrestling camp in Oregon.

If you or someone you know if affected by alcohol or substance abuse, help can be found with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). It’s free, confidential, and open 24/7.

Provincial helplines in Canada can be found here via the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

There are a number of UK based helplines for drug and alcohol abuse. They are listed here by the National Health Service.