Early on in Summer 2013, the UFC signed undefeated German prospect Benjamin Brinsa. “The Hooligan” sports an impressive record of thirteen victories, nine of which took place in the very first round. With such a record, it was almost a guarantee that Brinsa would bring excitement to the welterweight division.
Brinsa made headlines before laying a single toe on the octagon canvas. While he would go on to make a name for himself as a UFC fighter, it was not in a way that he or his team could ever have imagined.
Short after being signed to a contract, media outlets began to publish stories that Benjamin “The Hooligan” Brinsa had ties with Neo-Nazi organizations. Brinsa released a public statement on the matter flat-out denying the rumors, but the UFC brass would have none of it.
The German was cut in September 2013 and the UFC has not made a single mention of the German since.
Benjamin Brinsa is not keeping quiet and is fighting for the truth to be known.
Through a translator, BJPENN.COM Radio recently had a chance to speak to the man behind the controversy.
The rumors of Benjamin Brinsa being a Neo-Nazi began when an individual named Martin Schöler created websites that claimed he was a right-wing activist. A photograph was posted with the soccer hooligan group “Scenario LOK”, a hooligan firm which Brinsa was a member of, holding a banner that read, “ultras LOK – National Resistance”.
Schöler seemingly had no reason to make such claims because he has never met “The Hooligan”. “I didn’t even know the person. So, it came out of the blue for me. All of the stuff he put up on the internet was on websites with no legal information…” Attempting to explain why he thinks this stranger would do this, Brinsa elaborated, “From what I understand, he’s a person that comes from the left-wing and he’s always attacking everybody that is not of his belief or his political opinion. Up to this point, I haven’t met the guy or know why he does it.”
Benjamin Brinsa expressed that Scenario LOK’s political views had nothing to do with his involvement of the group. “What was most important for me was supporting my club, supporting my team, being together with my friends and making a good atmosphere in the stadium. Having that bond, you know?” Brinsa continued, “I’ve never been a Nazi… I think most of the problem that we have is about Germany’s connection or dealing with patriotism in general. It’s still kind of frowned upon if you’re proud of your country.”
In America, most would brush off Brinsa’s nickname as just that— a nickname. In other parts of the world, however, it can be damaging to your professional reputation to be labeled as a hooligan. Many view football hooligans as a gang and their soul-purpose is to intimidate the supporters of the opposing soccer team by any means necessary, including physical harm. Brinsa participated in such activities and allegedly even received a lifetime ban from a soccer stadium due to repetitive acts of violence.
Brinsa did not shy away from the fact that he has made some mistakes in his past, though. “Obviously, having these very intense rivalries in the region with other clubs went a bit overboard and had some tussles in the streets after the matches. I’m not going to sugar-coat that.” He says that growing up has made him a changed man. “As a teenager, I did some **** and associated myself with some people that weren’t the best company looking back, but times changed. I’m a father now— I got a baby boy and a beautiful girlfriend.”
Martin Schöler has not made any official statements on why he believes Benjamin Brinsa is a racist. The websites that he started releasing the “information” on are not credible as they have no legal information. The site that published most of the allegations is being monitored by the German government and is actually on the FBI’s terrorism watch list. The idea that Schöler is trying to report his information as “fact” despite being watched by the FBI seems ludicrous.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Benjamin Brinsa has been doing everything possible to clear his name. Despite never being convicted of any racially motivated crimes and never being a member of any right wing party, he is being accused of something vile and it has cost him his job.
Brinsa fought hard to sign the contract he deserved only to have the rug pulled out from under him. With the opportunity of a lifetime disappearing so quickly, he is continuing to fight for another opportunity to step inside the octagon.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE: