by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It was announced on Friday that prosecutors in Florida dropped charges against Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Din Thomas after he was arrested in October and charged with organizing illegal fights.
MMAWeekly.com spoke to Thomas after the news broke that the charges were dropped and he explained the story of how his arrest came to be.
“I had a ‘smoker’ utilizing all my guys, all my students. If you don’t know what a smoker is, it’s basically just, even lower than, way lower than even an amateur event,” he explained. “It’s an opportunity where you invite your friends and family to come out and these guys get to perform in front of a crowd. So that’s basically what we do. This was the second time I’ve ever done this.
“So we had a smoker and the police came … there were police there, not on duty, but just there watching. Apparently somebody tipped them off that there were illegal fights going on … about six of them came. Four of them just kind of sat up and watched the whole thing and I kind of dealt with the other two for the rest of the time. They left and were like, ‘have a nice night.’ They stayed and watched everybody leave.”
Thomas continued, “About a week and a half later, the guys called me like, ‘we’re going to arrest you for what you did’ and I was like, ‘what, this is crazy!’ So then they came and got me. Next thing I know it was all over the newspaper, illegal fights are going on.”
Assistant State Attorney Jeff Hendricks spoke to the Palm Beach Post and reported that the state’s attorney’s office decided not to file any formal charges after a formal investigation.
The state of Florida currently doesn’t have a set of laws in place for amateur events for mixed martial arts and this is something Thomas feels is necessary for not only his students, but also anyone looking to propel to the professional level in the sport.
“There need to be amateur events. There’s no amateur events, only pro,” he stated. “So you have guys who want to fight that ain’t ready for the pro level yet … they cant’ fight amateur. We drive to Louisiana every couple months just so my guys can get amateur experience. Now it’s to the point where I want to throw my own events. I’m trying to get the laws changed in Florida and I’m going to see what I can do.”
With the weight of a long legal fight now behind him, Thomas can once again concentrate on getting healthy and finishing the rehab on his surgically repaired knee. He hopes to return to the UFC sometime in the first part of 2008.