MMA fighter indicted in Donald Trump RICO case

Former MMA fighter Willie "Monster" Floyd got indicted as part of the Donald Trump GA RICO case.

By: Karim Zidan | 1 month ago

Donald Trump’s indictment brings together novel cast of characters

Donald Trump and 18 allies were indicted in Georgia on Monday over their efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.

MMA: UFC 287 - Curtis vs Gastelum Apr 8, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Former President Donald Trump at the MMA fight between Chris Curtis and Kelvin Gastelum during UFC 287 at Miami-Dade Arena. Miami Miami-Dade Arena Florida USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xRichxStorryx 20230408_szo_fw1_0173
IMAGO | USA TODAY by Rich Storry

The 98-page indictment, which includes accusations of pressuring election workers and attempting to steal data from a voting machine company, uses the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—a law commonly referred to as RICO and which is normally associated with gangsters—to accuse the defendants of engaging in a “criminal racketeering enterprise.” 

The case also involves an unusual cast of characters, including a bail bondsman, Kanye West’s former publicist and a former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.   

This is cross-posted from Karim Zidan’s Sports Politika Substack Newsletter. Please consider subscribing today.

MMA veteran and ex-Kanye publicist part of the conspiracy

Harrison William Prescott Floyd and Trevian C. Kutti are among the lesser-known defendants accused of attempting to intimidate Fulton County elections worker Ruby Freeman to falsely admit to committing election fraud. Floyd is a former mixed martial arts fighter while Kutti is a former publicist for West and R. Kelly. 

Freeman, who testified before the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, earlier this year, was among the election workers Trump and his campaign had targeted by baselessly claiming she was counting fake mail-in ballots in Fulton County.

According to the indictment, Floyd was solicited by fellow defendant Stephen Cliffgard Lee, a former police officer-turned-Lutheran chaplain, to speak with Freeman. Floyd then enlisted Kutti to travel to Atlanta to meet with Freeman. The publicist traveled to Freeman’s Georgia home and spoke with the election worker at a local police precinct as officers supervised in January 2021, according to public records from the Cobb County Police Department.

“Ms. Kutti stated that Ms. Freeman was in danger and had 48 hours to speak with her so that she could get ahead of the issue,” according to the Cobb County police report from January 2021. Kutti said the danger Freeman faced was related to the election, the police report stated.

According to body camera footage obtained by CNN through a public records request, Kutti told Freeman that she “cannot say what specifically will take place” if she refused to cooperate but “that it will disrupt your freedom.”

Testifying at a hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee in June 2022, Freeman described the difficult situation she was placed in after Rudy Giuliani publicly accused her of election fraud. Freeman was even forced to go into hiding.

“There is nowhere I feel safe,” Ms. Freeman testified.

This is cross-posted from Karim Zidan’s Sports Politika Substack Newsletter. Please consider subscribing today.

‘Monster’ Floyd went out of MMA on a loss

Floyd and Kutti have both been charged with three felony counts, including conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements and writings, as well as influencing witnesses. 

Floyd, who competed in MMA as Willie “Monster” Floyd, holds a 3-4 professional record and has not fought since a 2015 submission loss in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Floyd was director of Black Voices for Trump

The former fighter also served as the director of Black Voices for Trump, a group that received Trump’s seal of approval and includes the likes of Martin Luther King Jr’s niece, a pastor who compared abortion to slavery, and a misogynistic motivational speaker on its advisory board. 

Floyd isn’t the first MMA fighter to pledge his allegiance to Trump, who is now facing a total of 91 criminal counts following his most recent indictment. Plenty of MMA fighters have campaigned for Trump over the years, while the sport’s leading organization, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, continues to maintain a close relationship with the former president

During his most recent appearance at UFC 290 in July, Trump was greeted with raucous applause from the crowd and even hi-fived some supporters as he entered the arena flanked by secret service agents. From his vantage point cageside, Trump engaged in an unexpected tête-à-tête with a cornerman coaching a fighter, who said: “Mr. Trump, are you winning again? Are you winning again? Yes! Please! We need it!”

This is cross-posted from Karim Zidan’s Sports Politika Substack Newsletter. Please consider subscribing today.

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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