Local NewsNational


Illegal fighting ring involving children busted in Arizona

Posted at 10:10 AM, Jun 06, 2019

PHOENIX — In a video taken by undercover state officers, you can see fighters sparring barefoot in a ring inside a high school cafeteria. Another video shows kids not even 100 pounds throwing punches in a pizza shop parking lot.

The Arizona Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission say at least three fights they captured in the Valley were "unsanctioned."

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged Roland Sarria and Todd Whitmoyer with violating several state regulations set for MMA and Boxing Matches.

The charges included failing to provide a licensed doctor, a police officer on site, proof of insurance, a license, or conducting medical exams prior to the matches.

“Those steps ensure that if something does go wrong, that a fighter has the best possible care they can get instantly until we can get them to a hospital," said Francisco Meneses, Executive Director of the Arizona Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission.

The state's investigation started in late 2018. Meneses says they got a tip about several unsanctioned fights being promoted across the Valley.

“It was alarming, there is no safety procedures in place there," he said. "So, if these two young kids get hurt, the risk is high.”

Investigators found flyers circulating on social media for fights being held at odd locations: Cortez High School, an Elks Lodge in Glendale, and most recently - Maya Pizza in Mesa.

“You’ve got to be careful with that stuff,' said MMA instructor Alex Coronado, who fought with Sarria for several years. "There are so many liabilities that come with that, especially he should know he’s been in the game for a long time.”

Sarria and Whitmoyer are scheduled to appear in court in July.