Former UFC lightweight Junie Browning is in hiding in fear for his life after an altercation in Thailand that left the 26-year-old fighter with multiple injuries. Injured and scared overseas, Browning is in seclusion, calling for help from the U.S. Embassy to get him back home.
Browning was involved in a bar fight on Dec. 12 in Phuket, Thailand. Reports quickly surfaced that Browning was a fugitive on the run being sought after by local authorities. Browning challenged those claims to MMAWeekly.com on Sunday.
“I was in fact the victim in this case, and it is important I am able to tell my side of the story and provide you with pictures and evidence to support it. There was an attempt to end my life and I am begging for help from the U.S. Embassy.”
The initial reports alleged that Browning fled the hospital before police arrive, but Browning provided photo evidence that disputes those claims.
Recalling what he could from the night in question, Browning tells a different tale than was originally reported by media outlets.
“Sunday night, we arrived at a small bar in Karon with two other females, one of which was friends with the owner. It happened to be the owner of the bar’s birthday, Simon Wilson Menzies. So he was surrounded by a group of 12-15 of his closest friends who had been drinking in celebration previous to our arrival. My girlfriend and I had a few drinks, and seeing we didn’t know anyone, had decided to leave to go home. We had contacted a cab and he was on his way to meet us. He would call when he arrived. A discussion via text message with one of the girls I had arrived with resulted in MJ Castro and Simon Menzies confronting me in the street,” recalled Browning.
“MJ was screaming and swinging her hands in front of my face. I do not know why she was mad. Nothing that I had said involved her or her friends whatsoever. I assumed she was mad that we were leaving the party because we were on our way out to meet our cab. Without any notice I found myself in a physical altercation with Simon in the street.”
Browning quickly realized he was over-matched and out-numbered.
“I could tell from the moment he stepped in front of me, he was looking for a fight. At this point, it just involved me and Simon, my girlfriend standing next to us. In only a few seconds, my girlfriend was thrown across the street and I had been hit from behind in the back of the head by a glass beer bottle. I stood up looking for my attacker and found myself surrounded by a mob of people.
“It was no longer a man on man ‘bar brawl’ but a fight for my survival. I was trying to defend myself in the street when at some point I fell back to the ground. They drug me back into the bar where they pummeled me with punches and kicks. It was me against everyone. For a second time I received a mass blow over the head with a thick glass mug that split my head open and made me fall to the floor. I curled up in the fetal position, submissive, and I continued to be kicked and hit. My arms up covering my face I felt a slice to my forearm and another stab to my neck,” Browning told MMAWeekly.com.
Browning appeared on the eighth installment of The Ultimate Fighter reality series on Spike TV. He immediately became the bad boy of the season with his antics.
He was released by the organization in 2009. On Oct. 6, 2009, Browning was arrested and accused of assaulting three nurses in a Henderson, Nevada, hospital following a possible suicide attempt.
The altercation in Thailand also spilled over from the bar to the hospital, but the situations were drastically different, according to the Kentucky native.
“They began to assess my wounds and stitch up the three large gashes on my head. Without any consideration to my safety or the events that had just occurred, they placed both Menzies, accompanied by MJ Castro, and the man who had attacked me with a mug, in the beds right beside me. Needless to say, I became furious and again words were exchanged. As it escalated a second time into a physical fight… Security and Patong Police arrived and restrained all parties. I was taken into the waiting lobby on a stretcher in handcuffs in front of numerous people to finish giving me medical attention,” recounted Browning.
“At no point was I rude or uncooperative with either the medical staff or the police. Taken into consideration the severity of my wounds and my demeanor and my girlfriend’s statement, the police officer removed my handcuffs. We were told by the officer that we should stay the night in the hospital to have my head monitored and would be able to go home with no charges the next morning. It was obvious to him that I was the victim.”
Following the second altercation at the hospital, Browning began to fear for his life.
“My intentions were to file a police report in the morning and deal with this in a civil manner. Hours later, my phone began to ring with numerous reliable sources stating that we were not safe and we needed to leave now! They said that local Thais and mafia had a price on my head and were headed to the hospital and both my girlfriend and my life were at risk. We were told to trust or talk to no one and to just leave. We are aware that the mafia is a real thing and took this very seriously. We panicked and decided that our best option was to escape in the middle of the night and hope we could make it home,” he said.
“My girlfriend pulled out my IV and jumped a fence to find a taxi to come pick me up. When one arrived, I jumped in and we headed home to pack. Two friends came banging on the door, which we didn’t answer for fear of who it might be. They continued to bang on the windows until we realized who it was. We do not want to mention their names to protect them from being associated with the situation and any harm that may come to them. They said there was no time, that I needed to hide. They even mentioned that if my girlfriend was found, they would kill or harm her in attempt to find me,” he added.
On the advice of friends familiar with Thailand, Browning fled the country. He refuses to disclose his current location and pleads the U.S. Embassy for cooperation to get him home.
“To this point I have been unable to seek the medical attention that I desperately need. My vision in my right eye is impaired; I am in severe pain; I am going through fainting and dizzy spells, and have severe head trauma,“ said Browning.
“All we are asking for is help from people we can trust which brings us here now. We are victims of a viscous assault and attempt on our lives. We are seeking the assistance of the U.S. Embassy and want to clear my name of the wrong-doing I was accused of.”