Jorge Masvidal nearly landed in Chinese jail for bathroom battle

Has Jorge Masvidal ever seen a fight he wouldn't take part in?

By: Zane Simon | 3 months ago

We all know that one guy. He may never be looking for trouble, exactly, but somehow trouble always seems to find him. The kind of person where, every time they talk it’s always a story about some ridiculous encounter that a normal, sane person would never imagine themselves getting involved in. I’m not saying Jorge Masvidal is that guy, but he sure sounds a lot like that guy.

From a history of unsanctioned backyard street fights on YouTube to dropping a ‘3-piece and a soda’ on Leon Edwards after knocking out Darren Till in the cage, to (allegedly) jumping Colby Covington outside of Papi Steak restaurant in Miami, and reports that his father had been arrested in connection to a shooting incident in his Florida home, drama never seems to be far away from the life of ‘Gamebred’.

Jorge Masvidal tells the story of his ‘weirdest’ fight

Given that kind of life and the reputation he carries, then, it’s no surprise that Jorge Masvidal had an interesting tale to tell when it came to recounting some of his past fight stories. In a recent interview on the MMA Hour, the 38-year-old was asked about the ‘weirdest place he’d ever had a fight’. Top of the list was a bathroom in China.

To hear him tell it, Masvidal was in the country for a UFC event, and out at the club after the fight card had concluded, when he was approached by three “European guys” in the bathroom, who wanted to check out his chain. The men started getting hands-y with the merchandise, which is when Masvidal decided he’d had enough.

“Then I’m here, I’m looking in the reflection in the mirror,” Masvidal remembered (transcript via MMA Fighting), “And the guy goes like this [jerks hand in the air] and lifts up my chain like an a—hole, and he says something to me in whatever language he was speaking. So I was like, I know what’s going happen next. If these guys keep doing this, they’re going to take everything I’ve got, so when I turned around, the guy got in my face and then yeah, it was like a sleeping bomb went off in there. …

“[Knocked] the f—k out—him and his two buddies. They rushed me. The one dude got in my face, I told him to get back, he didn’t understand me, he got closer, boom. Down. His friends come rushing at me, what am I going to do? All in a bathroom.”

The fracas was bad enough, apparently, to cause someone to call the police. Which, for Masvidal, meant it was time to get lost, rather than face the potential of an arrest and an apparently mandatory 10-day jail sentence that would have come with it.

“I wash my hands still after I’m done with them, I go to the section where we’re hanging out, and the dude that was in charge of the group, he comes to me and he says, ‘Hey, check this out. Cops are on their way because they said somebody got beat up in the bathroom,’” Masvidal said. “In China, if you go to jail, you don’t see the judge, you don’t get bail for 10 days. So right or wrong, you’re going to be in there for 10 days if you do get arrested. I wasn’t going to take that chance, so I just took off.”

While it’s not clear where the “10-day” number came from, Canadian government travel advisories note that both foreigners and citizens in China who break the law will normally have to wait in custody at least 3-4 days while an arrest is approved (or up to 37 days in cases of more serious, repeat offenders). After an arrest has been approved, detainees can wait more than a year to have formal charges filed against them.

Considering that no authorities traced Masvidal back to his hotel, by the sound of things, he may have made the smart choice in not throwing himself upon the expediency of the Chinese justice system.

Masvidal recalls first street fight

At this point, much of Masvidal’s history has been well recorded. How he went from training in a local boxing gym, to working out at the same gym as Kimbo Slice, which got him into backyard boxing and MMA bouts. That success and viral video fame got Masvidal into the regional MMA scene, where he bumped around until hooking up with promising upstart promotion BodogFIGHT.

Bodog closed its doors after just a few events, but Masvidal’s impressive head kick KO win over recent UFC & PRIDE talent Yves Edwards brought him to bigger promotions like Strikeforce, Sengoku, and Bellator. Eventually the ATT talent became a mainstay with the Scott Coker’s Showtime promotion, and ended up in the Octagon when the UFC purchased Strikeforce in 2011. But where did it all really begin?

In a 2020 interview with the BBC, Masvidal recalled the first time he ever got in a fight, as a nine-year-old kid.

“I was about nine years old riding a bike with some friends when we got stopped by a group of guys who were three or four years older than us,” Masvidal said of his first time fighting.

“One of the guys leans over, grabs my shirt, pulls out a knife and tells me to give him my bike. I was scared. He had a knife. But there was a fence between us so I pulled back, assessed the situation, then took off.

“Then, five or six months later, there’s this incident where my friend got slapped at school, and I asked who’s the guy that slapped you? He pointed to the kid and just by luck, I realized it was the same guy who pulled a knife on me.

“We started going at it by the side of the cafeteria. I knew how to throw punches by watching kung-fu movies, and I landed a flurry, plus a head butt which busted his nose.”

The future

Enough about the past, what about the future? Masvidal recently retired from active MMA competition, and has instead moved over to the role of fight promoter with his Gamebred FC organization. Gamebred has been focused on putting together bare knuckle fights both in boxing and MMA.

“Since I don’t fight and I’m not at the gym four, five hours every day giving it all I got, I’m giving [promoting] all I got,” Masvidal said of his new venture back in May. “I’m so involved in this. I’m so submerged in this. It’s what I’ve been doing for the last three years and what I’ll be doing for the next 20 years. Just promoting the fights, and giving a piece of myself back to the fans in the form of violence. But not me getting in the cage, but me orchestrating the violence.”

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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