Ricco Rodriguez is accused of assault in Arizona. | File Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez has reportedly been arrested in Ahwatukee, Ariz., following an alleged assault and resisting arrest.
Phoenix Fox affiliate KSAZ reported Wednesday evening that the 33-year-old Pride Fighting Championships and UFC veteran was taken into custody over the weekend for allegedly assaulting a cab driver and struggling with police officers just south of the state’s capital city.
A native of Staten Island, N.Y., Rodriguez is accused of throwing the cab driver to the ground following a dispute over a $75 taxi fare. According to the report, police representatives stated it took three officers to control the 6-foot-4 fighter.
“It’s our policy to handcuff behind -- that did not occur. He was struggling with the officers, flailing his arms ...” Sgt. Steve Martos told Fox 10 Phoenix.
Rodriguez (46-11) had a perfect 3-0 mark in Pride before winning his first five UFC bouts and claiming the promotion’s heavyweight title from Randy Couture in September 2002. Following a crushing knockout loss to Tim Sylvia in his first title defense, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt represented the UFC at “Pride Total Elimination 2003,” where he suffered a controversial decision defeat to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Many fans and pundits alike scored the contest for Rodriguez, who then competed on the big stage for a final time in a lackluster decision loss against Pedro Rizzo.
The journeyman fighter has won 11 straight bouts, and last saw action against “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 cast member James McSweeney Feb. 26 at BAMMA 5.