An unfortunate and unexpected situation took place at GLORY 42 on Saturday, inside AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, where the event was taking place. After welterweight Murthel Groenhart knocked out Harut Grigorian in the second round of the co-main event, two members of the audience ran into the ring and attacked him, landing at least one punch before coaches from both corners were able to intervene and prevent the situation from escalating.
One of the two assailants is believed to be Armenian MMA fighter Hracho Darpinyan, which was first reported by Dave Walsh of Liverkick.com and later confirmed to MMA Plus by Groenhart’s coach, Mike Passenier.
On the ESPN2 broadcast, it was mentioned that Groenhart may have suffered a broken jaw. However, Passenier told MMA Plus on Saturday that after a doctor’s examination, “The Predator” had not suffered any injuries.
“We will find out what the appropriate course of action is and we will take it,” GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin told MMA Plus on Saturday evening after the event. “We are not going to just let it lie.”
With the event being in France, Franklin said GLORY had to look into the proper protocol under French law in order to go forward with pressing charges against the two assailants, who were not arrested after the incident occurred.
Passenier explained to MMA Plus that Darpinyan actually called him to apologize and that he brought Darpinyan forward to GLORY executives so they could get his information and identity. “Now it’s up to them,” Passenier said. “They have to take care of our safety.”
Franklin said Groenhart doesn’t wish to press charges, but that won’t change the promotion’s stance. “Regardless of what Murthel does, we are going to do something,” Franklin said on Saturday.
On Sunday, GLORY issued a statement on its website indicating they are indeed pursuing legal action against the two assailants. The promotion did not confirm the identity of the two assailants.
“We are shocked and appalled by the behavior of these two individuals,” the statement said. “Investigation into the identities of the assailants is ongoing, as we consider appropriate action organizationally.
“GLORY takes the welfare of its athletes very seriously. As such, we intend to pursue the prosecution of these individuals – and any individuals who enter the ring without authorization and/or compromise the safety of our athletes in any fashion – to the fullest extent of the law. On Monday, our legal representation in France will officially lodge a complaint to the Paris prosecutor.”
Security measures were in place at AccorHotels Arena, but the two assailants were able to make their way to the ring. Franklin, who said he was close by to where Groenhart’s attackers leapt the barricade, addressed GLORY’s security measures and how they were breached.
“Number one, we had security in place,” he said. “Number two, we created–at great expense–this almost riot barricade system that goes around the field of play. It’s a solid system. We’ve been using it and it’s been great.”
At most combat sports events there is a metal fence called the “bike rack” that surrounds the ring or cage. Franklin explained how the system at GLORY events is actually more secure.
“It’s more than a bike rack,” he explained. “It’s actually like a physical barricade and you can stand on it if you want to. It’s solid. It’s about four feet high and there are gates on the corners. The gates open and shut and there are no way to push your way through it if the gates close. A security guard has to open the gate to get you in and out. It’s a physical barrier that we’ve been using.
“And we have security in place, but these guys just jumped right over the barricade and ran by security and ran at full force. Somebody goes running you can’t stop everything. Could we do a better job? Could we hire more security? Yes, and we are certainly going to review that. But did we have security in place? Yes we did. Did we have a physical barrier for situations like this? Yes we did. We always take multiple precautions.”
The highlights of the brawl were shown repeatedly on ESPN Sportscenter on Saturday, and several big websites that don’t normally cover GLORY had shared the video highlights of the incident. That’s not exactly the buzz a promotion is hoping for, but Franklin is confident that GLORY’s reputation for being the No.1 kickboxing promotion in the world is secure.
“Well, you want to be known for your great fights and your great fighters, that’s for sure,” Franklin said. “And we have that. We have amazing talent and amazing competition. These things happen. You can’t sweep them under the rug.”
Legal charges have not yet been filed and the name of the second assailant has not yet been revealed. MMA Plus will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.