Paul Kelly at UFC 105Former UFC lightweight Paul Kelly faces a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of running a heroin trafficking ring in Liverpool, England.

Kelly (14-5) rose to prominence in mixed martial arts competing in local British MMA events.  He made his UFC debut at UFC 80 in January 2009 with an undefeated 7-0 record.  He fought nine times in the promotion amassing a 5-4 record.  He was released following a loss to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 126 in February 2011.

Kelly was arrested in May of 2012 as part of a wide-ranging sting operation.

Detective Inspector Mark Kameen, who was the lead on the investigation, stated at the time, “This operation was part of our ongoing crackdown on criminals involved in the illegal drugs trade.”

Judge Mark Brown told jurors they had made the right decision on the “clearest evidence,” and added that he considered Kelly “the boss” in the organization.

After a four-day trial, jurors returned a unanimous guilty verdict and Kelly, along with his best friend Christopher St. John McGirr and childhood friend Paul Rogers were detained and await sentencing next month.

According to the Liverpool Echo, when the verdicts were read, Kelly shouted, “I’ve got two kids!”

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