The crimes of Lee “Lightning” Murray

June 25, 2009

Lee Murray may go down in the books as the most successful bank robber in mixed martial arts history.

I'm sorry, what $40 million are you referring to?

"Right. Do you think if I had $40 million hidden away I'd be here talking to you?"

A middleweight with an 8-2 record, “Lightning” Lee was arrested in June 2006 in the Morroccan capital, Rabat, for allegedly master-minding a $92-million cash heist — there’s no other word for it — from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent. (I don’t know what that means either.)

Seven masked men with automatic weapons were involved in the 2006 heist, which began when two of the robbers abducted the bank’s manager. After the assailants forced their way into the high-security warehouse, they loaded the cash into three waiting trucks. Much of the loot was recovered, but approximately $40 million is still missing. [ESPN The Magazine]

News accounts say it was the biggest cash robbery in history.

Murray’s arrest, on charges of cocaine possession, came after he fled to Morrocco to escape extradition for his suspected role the Securitas job. His father was Morroccan (his mom’s English), so he had citizenship, and apparently Morrocco don’t extradite for nuthin.

I am telling you all this because yesterday Lightning Lee was unexpectedly released from prison and then arrested again! Methinks Scotland Yard has worked out a deal with the Morroccans.

Time Inc. has optioned a movie based on a 2008 Sports Illustrated story chronicling Murray’s exploits. Guy Ritchie* is going to have a hell of a time in the editing room:

  • Supposedly Murray TKO’d and punted the head of Tito Ortiz (the one married to Jenna Jameson) outside of a London nightclub in July 2002.
  • Three years later, in September 2005, he was stabbed in a brawl outside of what I assume was a different London nightclub. Doctors had to resuscitate him multiple times.
  • He was planning to break out of prison — with tiny saws:

Last month, the Wrestling Observer newsletter reported that the fighter tried to break out of his cell by using tiny saws that were hidden in his food. According to the publication, [he] was thwarted when another prisoner broke into his cell, found the saws and informed prison officials.

Oh yeah, he also did some MMA fighting, including an interesting 2004 bout with Anderson Silva, the dominant UFC middleweight champ, where the English commentators want their boy to win so bad you wouldn’t believe it. Watch the second round:

I like to imagine that when Murray and Silva are clinched together, heads side by side, Murray is secretly whispering his criminal plans to Anderson, who’s like, “Whatever, Lee. As soon as we stand up, I’m going to kick you in the head again.” Except in Portuguese.

*Guy Ritchie was Jake Rossen’s joke. (I also ganked Sherdog’s head shot.)

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