Several UFC employees and people working around UFC 224 in Brazil were held up at gunpoint just outside the host hotel in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday evening.
The incident was first reported by ESPN via Twitter with details being scarce at the time outside of everybody involved being safe and unharmed.
Prominent mixed martial arts manager Brian Butler-Au, who manages fighters such as featherweight champion Max Holloway as well as UFC 224 fighters Brian Kelleher and Karl Roberson, was one of the people involved in the robbery.
According to Butler-Au, everybody involved with the event had been warned to be careful in Rio but the group was apparently sitting directly across the street from the host hotel when three gunmen approached them out of nowhere.
“It’s pretty crazy, because we already got all the warnings about how it’s a little unstable over here and ‘stay by the hotel’ and do all that stuff,” Butler-Au told TMZ on Friday.
“This guy came up beside me, came up on my left side and I looked over at him and he just pulled out this handgun that had this extended magazine on it and he just put it up in my face and then he grabbed my phone. I was still trying to compute what was going on. He grabbed my phone and there were two other guys with him. Another guy had a gun. They went around and robbed everybody at the table, there was like 10 of us.”
Butler-Au said that at least one UFC employee had her necklace ripped straight from her neck by one of the robbers before they made their escape in a getaway car that was parked across the street from where they were sitting.
While thankfully no one was hurt, everybody at the table had their personal possessions stolen from them including phones, wallets, and other belongings.
“It was a scary situation,” Butler-Au said. “Like I said, glad that everybody is OK. Some people are shook up. I was a little shook up after it kind of settled in. Like, ‘Whoa, that was really close.’ But everybody is very supportive. UFC has been very good, very supportive.”