Nine-time UFC veteran Paul Kelly on Friday was found guilty in the United Kingdom of heroin trafficking.
The Liverpool Echo reported that “Tellys” was convicted Friday in a unanimous verdict after a four-day trial in his native Liverpool, England.
While his prison term is expected to be a lengthy one when he is sentenced, a precise length is not known.
In the trial, prosecutors convinced jurors that Kelly was what amounts to a major drug dealer, working with friends to move heroin by using couriers. According to the Echo, Judge Mark Brown said during the trial he considers Kelly “the boss” of the group.
Kelly (14-5) was 7-0 when he signed with the UFC, and made a successful debut with the promotion in January 2008 with a “Fight of the Night” win over Paul Taylor in Newcastle, England. He followed that up with a submission loss to Marcus Davis at UFC 89, also in England, before rebounding with unanimous-decision wins over Troy Mandaloniz and Roli Delgado in 2009, the latter of which was his move down from welterweight to lightweight.
But he toggled back and forth between wins and losses after that. He suffered a TKO loss to Dennis Siver at UFC 105 in England then submitted Matt Veach at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. He dropped a decision to Jacob Volkmann in August 2010, then picked up a TKO win over T.J. O’Brien at UFC 123.
But after a “Fight of the Night” loss to Donald Cerrone at UFC 126, in which he tapped out in the second round, Kelly was cut from the organization with a 5-4 record.
Outside the UFC, he tried to get back on track 10 months later, but lost a unanimous decision to Ryan Healy in India. After a move back to welterweight, though, he picked up two stoppage wins in England, winning under the Ultimate Challenge MMA banner in December and getting a TKO win for Ultimate Warrior Challenge a little more than two months ago.
The chances of the 28-year-old’s MMA career being over now as he awaits sentencing are high.
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