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'Scary' UFC fighter who struck fear into Dana White is serving 25-year jail sentence over $100m robbery

'Scary' UFC fighter who struck fear into Dana White is serving 25-year jail sentence over $100m robbery

This is the remarkable story of Lee 'Lighting' Murray.

Dana White once called one of his former fighters a 'scary son of a b*tch' - and you can see why judging by his insane story.

Introducing Lee Murray who was billed as the next big thing in the UFC until his promising MMA career was cruelly cut short after he was stabbed multiple times in a blood-drenched knife brawl.

His life then took a dramatic turn which sees him behind bars in Morocco.

It's hard to believe that someone who has just one UFC fight to his name is one of the most widely known fighters in the sport, but here we are.

He's an MMA icon, almost entirely based on things that happened outside of the cage.

SPORTbible looks back at the astonishing career and life of Lee 'Lighting' Murray.

He was a troubled youth who lived his life on the streets with stealing and drug-dealing a part of his everyday activity. He had legal woes before being introduced to MMA, where he channeled his energy positively.

Over time in the sport, Murray became a force. Quickly making a name for himself for his hand speed and power.

Murray went onto record five stoppage victories before exploding onto the scene, but outside of the cage in the form of street fight which is still talked about to this day.

Murray vs. Tito Ortiz. It's one of many fights omitted from his professional MMA record yet one spoken about perhaps more than any other.

The legendary street fight between Murray and UFC superstar Ortiz goes like this according to Pat Miletich, who vividly recalled the brutal scene outside a nightclub in London following UFC 38 in 2002.

"The entire alley erupted into a huge brawl. I was just standing there, and there were bodies flying all over the place," he said. "I was confused how it all happened, because it happened so fast. I was standing there with my mouth open like 'what the hell is going on?'

"I looked over and Chuck Liddell was with his back against the wall, knocking people out that were trying to go after him. Then I looked over and there's Tito directly past me, taking his coat off, going after Lee, and Lee's backing up the alley taking his jacket off.

"Both their jackets come off, and Tito throws a left hook at Lee Murray and misses, and right as he missed, Lee counters with, like, a five-punch combo, landed right on the chin, and knocked Tito out. OUT. Tito fell face-first down to the ground, and then Lee Murray stomped him on the face a couple of times with his boots. Then Tony Fryklund and I grabbed Lee and pushed Lee and said, 'Get out of here!'

"And Lee said, 'I'm sorry, I'll see you later', and took off. And Tony Fryklund helped Tito to his feet."

At the time, Ortiz was the UFC light-heavyweight champion and the sport's biggest name. He was allegedly knocked out by someone who had yet to step foot inside the famed Octagon and weighed significantly less than the American poster boy.

Murray's MMA career was over before it even began, but he showed a glimpse of what he could do during his short career.

The UFC came calling after a quick win on a local show as White offered the precocious talent a contract and the Londoner, who was flying the flag for UK MMA, made an instant impression, submitting Jorge Rivera at UFC 46.

Lee Murray poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session. Image: Getty
Lee Murray poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session. Image: Getty

Unfortunately, this was his only fight under the UFC banner due to complications with his US visa due to an ongoing criminal prosecution in the UK.

Murray subsequently signed for Cage Rage. In his first fight for the English promotion, he fought for their vacant middleweight title against Anderson Silva. Yes, that Anderson Silva.

Murray lost but took the great Brazilian the distance. It turned out to be his last MMA fight.

But he was facing another fight. A battle to save his life after being stabbed in a brawl during the birthday party of model Lauren Pope. The injuries sustained from the stabbing sadly prevented him from continuing his career as an MMA fighter.

Murray's legend grew when he pulled off the biggest cash robbery in British history with £53 million stolen in an operation that he masterminded in 2006. The coordinated attack saw a group of armed gang members leave a depot with cold hard cash.

After escaping to Morocco, he was arrested on unrelated charges, before eventually being identified as the brains behind the job.

From there, the UK attempted to extradite Murray back to the country. A hearing in Morocco, however, deemed the former fighter a Moroccan national, which meant he would be tried under the North African country's laws.

Murray's 2010 trial in Morocco resulted in a 10-year sentence which was later increased to 25 years.

The 46-year-old is 14 years into his prison sentence, but his absurd out-of-the-cage actions are still talked about today. Murray's legend will never fade.

Featured Image Credit: UFC

Topics: Dana White, UFC