The Liverpool ECHO reports that former UFC heavyweight Rob Broughton (aka ‘The Bear’), 38, has been jailed for his role in a Liverpool based gang responsible for a massive cocaine dealing operation. During proceedings in Liverpool Crown Court Broughton was called ‘muscle’ and an ‘enforcer’ for the gang who also transported an estimated £30m in cash.
The trial is focused on the alleged ringleaders of the gang, brothers Alan and John Tobin. In 2018 authorities seized 186kg of 90% pure cocaine under the floorboards of a specially customized vehicle. The cocaine, which prosecutors say belonged to the Tobins, represents the largest ever cocaine seizure on land in UK history.
Prosecutors say that Broughton didn’t have direct contact with any drugs, but was used to “enforce unpaid debts” and offered to move money for the Tobins for a 7.5% commission. Broughton is accused of working for the Tobin’s until their arrest in 2020.
Broughton’s attorney Anthony Barraclough asked the court to sentence his client as just a ‘money launderer’ in the case.
“There is no evidence of him grabbing anybody or committing any acts of violence,” he said. “The fact is Robbie the Bear is an enormous guy. If he’s in the background, he becomes an enforcer. He’s never used violence since a long time ago and that was battery. There is a great deal of difference between what he could do - there is no [grievous bodily harm] and so on.”
The judge in the case rejected Barraclough’s arguments, though, and insisted that ‘enforcer’ was an appropriate term for what Broughton did within the gang. The judge then sentenced Broughton to eight and a half years in prison.
Alan Tobin received a 20 year sentence and John Tobin received a 19 year and eight months sentence.
Broughton is thought to have met the Tobins in and around the local fight scene. Broughton, who began his pro MMA career back in 2004, is a former member of the famed Wolfslair MMA Academy.
That gym was a leader in early British MMA and was home to fighters such as Michael Bisping, Cheick Kongo and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
In 2006 Broughton beat James Thompson by KO to win the Cage Rage British Heavyweight title. In 2006, also in Cage Rage, he TKO’d Butterbean in a non-title bout. In 2009 Broughton began appearing for M-1, where he beat former DEEP megaton champion Yusuke Kawaguchi.
Broughton signed for the UFC in 2010. He won his debut, over Vinicius Queiroz, by submission. He then lost back-to-back decisions to Travis Browne and Phil De Fries. Broughton was due to face Matt Mitrione in his fourth UFC contest, but he pulled out from the bout on just 10 days notice citing ‘personal matters’.
Broughton’s last fight was in 2015, a submission victory over Marcin Bocian at ICE FC 6 in 2015.