MMA Journalist Chokes Out Violent Passenger On Plane

April 17, 2014 11:00 am by Jim Chadwick


Glory 15, which took place this past weekend in Turkey, had quite an ending.

Tyrone Spong threw a hard low kick at opponent Gohan Saki, and “Anderson Silva’d” his own leg, breaking it in half when the bone came into contact with Saki’s lower knee. Thankfully for those watching the fight, Spong’s ankle wraps took some of the shock away from the horrific sight.

…But that’s not the ending I’m talking about.

Spong jumped (okay, bad choice of words) onto a flight back to the US, along with his teammate and UFC fighter Rashad Evans, a few MMA journalists (including writer Michael Stets and Ryan Loco), and a passenger named Shahbaz Khan.

Halfway through the trip back from Istanbul, the man named Khan (whose name just screams “bad guy”… haven’t these guys seen Star Trek?) became irate and aggravated, claiming that a neighboring passenger had stolen his laptop. Khan then decided that the most reasonable response to this perceived injustice would be to spit on the man he accused of lifting the item from him, as well as the man NEXT to the man he was spitting on. (I suppose he was aggressively spitting, and wasn’t stopping to really aim those hockers.)

There’s always collateral damage in war, I suppose.

The flight crew had obviously seen enough, and moved in to intervene… and that’s when Khan really started to live up to his name.

The defendant ran down the aisle of the plane and across the center row of seats, climbing over the passengers seated there, and then ran down the opposite aisle of the plane where he attempted to lunge at a passenger,” stated FBI special agent Aaron Carp, in the filed complaint.

Khan then punched a flight attendant in the nose, kicked another in the groin, and then finished it up with a boot to the stomach, on his third (and what would end up being his final) victim.

That’s when Michael Stets stepped in. God bless MMA journalists.

I went over and said, ‘Do you want me to subdue him?’” Stets told FOX Sports. “I’ll just go over there and choke him out and this will be over.”

The flight attendants concurred with Stets, and within a few seconds, Stets had applied a rear naked choke, Khan was momentarily removed from his cognitive thought process, and the attendants were able to strap the man down.

I didn’t put him out,” said Stets. “I just did enough where I got his attention.”

I knew enough to help out with the situation. It’s not like I saved a baby from a burning building.”

The attendant told me he had been drinking. The stuff he was saying, either he was on meds or drugs and alcohol. He had some kind of medical imbalance. He was definitely off his rocker. … He was speaking coherently, but he wasn’t making any sense. He was just irrational.”

I just feel like I did my job in helping the situation. I wouldn’t call myself a hero. It’s not like I disarmed a guy with a submachine gun. I helped get control of a guy and helped quell the situation from getting worse.”

It was basically a citizen’s arrest in the air. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

Khan was charged with assault and intimidating flight attendants. He was released on a $25,000 bond signed by his mother, who was also on the plane. Khan, a 30-year-old Pakistani national who is also a U.S. citizen, must refrain from drinking as a condition of his release.

(Props To FoxSports for The Scoop)

By Jim Chadwick | Twitter

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