There are hundreds upon thousands of moments that everyone in the MMA community can be proud of, but unfortunately there are a few that shine a bad light on the sport.
On Friday night at a weigh in for “Battle of the Spartans IV”, an amateur show held in Ruther Glen, Virginia, a fight broke out that ended with a melee that including former Ultimate Fighter 9 participant Frank Lester.
Lester was a member of season 9's United States team coached by Dan Henderson where he competed as a welterweight. Following his elimination from the tournament, Lester fought once in the UFC where he lost by submission to Nick Osipczak by rear naked choke.
The situation unraveled during a weigh-in between two women’s competitors, Cassie Crisano and Shanie Rusth. Lester was there supporting Rusth, who is his girlfriend.
According to several sources, a heated exchange took place between Crisano and Rusth at the scales, after which Rusth spit on Crisano, and seconds later a fight broke out between the participants. In the melee, Lester allegedly struck Crisano before the participants were broken apart by others at the weigh-in.
James Jones, the owner and operated of Spartan Promotions, released this statement to MMAWeekly.com late Friday evening.
“Spartan Promotions strives to bring exciting amateur fights in a manner of class, integrity and sportsmanship. We are in the business of promoting events to showcase the talent and spirit behind Mixed Martial Arts. We do not, in any way, condone the actions that took place tonight at the weigh-ins for Battle of the Spartans IV.
“Spitting or striking of an opponent outside the cage does not hold to our core values. We thank those that intervened to stop the situation from escalating. We will be cooperating with the authorities as they move forward in their investigation.”
The local police in Fredricksburg, VA are apparently seeking out Lester and Rusth for their statements regarding the situation.
Lester had posted several responses to the situation on his Facebook page on Friday evening including a violent exchange with Crisano’s manager, Terry Linton. By the time the promotion made a public statement about the incident, Lester had deleted all of the posts about the situation from his personal page.
One message that remained was from Lester’s Twitter account aimed at Crisano, who did fail to make weight for the fight, but obviously what ensued afterwards was beyond unacceptable.
“Dumb (expletive) (expletive). You’re fat and can’t nobody help you now that Shanie spit in your face. Dumb (expletive),” wrote Lester.
Later in the night, Lester did post an additional message stating, “Well tonight has been interesting. I went to a weigh in to support my girlfriend in her upcoming fight. Now I’m being accused of BS!”.
Crisano took to her Facebook page to explain her side of the story in which she claims Rusth spit on her and then Lester assaulted her with a punch
“People that do wrong are the ones that feel the need to explain themselves to try and justify their wrong. I did no wrong, I was not over 8lbs and I am a tough woman you did not break my spirit nor did that punch in my face hurt! Seriously, that was it!!?? I am a very well respected and truthful person. All that know me can vouch for me. Frankie should be ashamed of himself for punching me in the face, he’s over 6 ft tall and 200+ pounds… and Shanie is just as disgraceful for spitting in my face,” wrote Crisano.
“Our actions show our true face and I am sad that I had to deal with trash tonight. I do apologize to all my fans and people that were coming out to show your support.”
Sources stated that Crisano visited a local hospital after the weigh-ins, but there was no information available at the time of publication of her condition or her intentions to potentially file charges for the alleged assault.
(Image courtesy of CassieCrisano.com)