Monson: ‘I’d Do It Again’

By Loretta Hunt Jan 15, 2009
Former UFC heavyweight contender and professed anarchist Jeff Monson is now a wanted man in Washington state, but he doesn’t regret the spray-painted message he left on the state Capitol building denouncing the war in Iraq.

The Olympia native has been charged with first-degree malicious mischief, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, according to The Olympian, which reported the story first on Wednesday.

A warrant for Monson’s arrest was issued on Wednesday after the state spent $19,000 to remove the graffiti, said The Olympian.

Monson, 37, told on Thursday that he’d spray-painted the peace sign, the anarchy symbol, and the phrases “No war” and “No poverty” on multiple columns of the building on Nov. 26.

Monson, who is currently out of state on personal business, said he will convene with his lawyer on Thursday to coordinate turning himself into authorities. Monson expects to be released on his own recognizance. He said he plans to fight the charge and will not serve any jail time.

Monson said he’d planned the protest with “anarchist friends” on Nov. 26, but proceeded alone when they didn’t arrive. An ESPN photographer and writer, who were profiling the outspoken political proponent, documented the act, which appeared in a snapshot accompanying the article in the Dec. 29 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

At the time, Monson admits he wasn’t thinking of what repercussions his actions might cause.

“After [the picture] was taken I did,” said Monson. “We didn’t plan on taking it during the photo shoot or anything like that. That [ESPN] guy was with me for two straight days, and it just kind of happened.”

Monson -- who said he’s attended protests, been tear gassed, detained and arrested for his beliefs in the past -- was initially disappointed by the lack of media coverage his act had drawn.

“It sounded like a bunch of kids vandalized it,” he said of the abbreviated stories written about the incident.

Monson believes the issues should resonate with adults though.

“I feel totally justified in what I did,” Monson told “I just wanted people to know that there’s an illegal war going on right now and we’re four years and running. People are dying. There’s 800,000 Iraqis dead and we don’t seem to realize it.”

Monson contends that the money used to fund the war could be better used stateside to tackle poverty.

“When we talk about the economic problems we have in this country right now and we’re spending over a billion dollars a week on this war? Wow. There you go,” he said.

A world grappling champion many times over and a member of the formidable American Top Team, Monson (27-8) bested former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez by unanimous decision on Dec. 13 at a Mixed Fighting Alliance event in Miami. He had vied unsuccessfully for the heavyweight title against Tim Sylvia at UFC 65 in November 2006.

Monson -- who dons anarchy-inspired tattoos on his chest, back and leg -- isn’t worried that the added attention will hinder his fighting career, which could include a bout in World Victory Road’s next “Sengoku” installment this March in Japan.

“I think it will help,” said Monson. “It might hurt sponsorship, but when you have a show, you have someone that is well known. I think you have to do something really bad, like molest a kid or something really, really terrible for them not to want you. I believe in what I did. I would do it again.”
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