Its been a rough past several weeks for UFC star Antonio Carlos Junior.
Junior suffered his first mixed martial arts (MMA) defeat since 2016 last month (Sat. May 16, 2019) against Ian Heinisch in Rochester. Heinisch took home a unanimous decision victory over Junior, ending the Brazilian’s five-fight win streak. To add insult to injury, the middleweight was robbed at gunpoint in his native Brazil soon after.
Speaking to Combate, the 29-year-old explained that he was on his way to a photo shoot when he was robbed at gunpoint in his car at a traffic light stop. Junior was robbed of his Rolex watch, before the criminal engaged in a shootout with police right near the UFC star. Thankfully, he and his friend both escaped unscathed:
“I was going to a photo shoot,” Carlos Junior said. “We stopped at a red light in front of the JK mall when a man tapped on the glass with a gun. I was sitting in the passenger seat, all I heard was the noise and then I thought: ‘Oh, sh-t. I’m f-cked, there goes my phone.’
“But the guy wanted my watch, which I gave to him right away. A police officer came from the other side of the road, pointing his gun at the thief, who fired in our direction while running away. One bullet hit the windshield, lost power and bounced on another car. Another bullet hit right between the doors, right in the middle of it.
“I was scared sh-tless, I thanked God that nothing happened. We were lucky we weren’t hit. It was a Rolex, man, it cost some money. It was used when I bought it, I had it for a while.”
Junior is thankful that all he lost was his watch that night. However, he went on to say that this should serve as a warning to the Brazilian government, who need to recognize their people are not safe in the streets. Having stayed in Florida for so long, the middleweight developed the habit of being comfortable having his phone and watch on him all the time.
Just a few weeks ago, newly-crowned UFC women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and her wife were carjacked at gunpoint in Brazil as well. Luckily, they were not hurt either:
“They couldn’t catch the criminal,” Junior said. “They said there is a gang who only goes after watches, no phones. There were three motorcycles. One stayed glued to us the previous turn, but we thought it was someone who had recognized us.
“Then I thought my friend could have done something dangerous, because I was on my phone and not paying attention. They told us that sometimes they will have a scout who stays by the mall, he’s the one who tells them what’s the car and the watch. We must be grateful for what we have. Last week there was Gabriel Diniz [a Brazilian singer who died in an airplane crash], he was my friend, you don’t know what tomorrow will be like. That’s a warning to the government.
“Public safety is faulty, we are unsafe out here. I had my phone, my watch, because living in the United States, you develop a habit of not paying attention all the time.”