At UFC Fight Night 118 in Poland this month, UFC officials went to the unprecedented step of canceling a prelim bout featuring Adam Wieczorek on short-notice after learning that soccer hooligans may have been planning to attempt to cause trouble during his fight.
However, it’s rare that there is advanced warning given about potential flashpoints like this, and so there’ve been numerous instances of trouble breaking out in the crowd at MMA events over the years, from drunken brawls involving just a few fans through to full-scale riots and gang feuds with deadly weapons.
With that in mind, let’s take a close look at 10 of the most shocking instances in which MMA fans got completely out of control and ran amok.
The Xplosion 13 Riot
Combat sports in Australia hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2006 when an ultra-violent clash of biker gangs that would later be dubbed as ‘The Ballroom Blitz’ broke out during the Xplosion 13 event.
The show took place at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast and featured a card including both kickboxing and MMA fights.
In attendance that night were 15 members of the Hells Angels, including Christopher Wayne Hudson, a former member of another motorcycle club, the Finks, who hadn’t taken kindly to his decision to leave them for a rival outfit.
As such, a total of 43 members of the Finks stormed into the venue, with one of their enforcers, Tyson James Ward, then punching Hudson, leading to a full-scale riot.
What started off with fists, smashed glasses and thrown chairs escalated even further when knives were brandished and gunshots fired.
When the dust settled it emerged that Hudson had been shot in the back and jaw by Finks member Shane Bowden, while two other bikers also suffered bullet wounds, in addition to an innocent bystander being struck in the foot and three others being stabbed.
Bowden was later charged with attempted murder and spent six years in jail, while Ward got 18 months for assault.