A man has been arrested in Florida in relation to the death of professional mixed martial artist Jordan Parsons, who died last week after a hit-and-run incident.
An official press release from Delray Beach Police states that 28-year-old Dennis Wright was arrested following an anonymous tip from a member of the public. Wright, who was driving with a suspended license at the time of the incident, was travelling at speeds "between 100 and 120mph" according to eyewitnesses before Parsons was struck by the grey SUV while crossing the Federal Highway at Lindell Boulevard at around midnight on May 1st.
The grey SUV in question is a Range Rover and was Wright's mother's vehicle. According to the press release, Wright and his friends in a following Mercedes failed to stop and check on Parsons after he was struck by the vehicle driven by Wright.
After that, and the ensuing media campaign from the police and the MMA community in an effort find the culprit behind this horrible incident, Wright is alleged to have taken the Range Rover to a local body shop to have the car repaired. After the owner of said body shop refused, Wright hid the vehicle at a rented storage unit to avoid detection. Investigators found the vehicle thanks to the tip-off and the Range Rover was missing its driver's side mirror that was recovered by local police officers at the crash scene.
The charges made against Wright include leaving the scene of a crash causing death, driving with a suspended sentence and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Wright's defence attorney Robert Resnick has pleaded for this case to not be clouded by the understandable hysteria stirred up over social media—Wright is due a fair trial, after all. But, his rap sheet is telling. Wright has a criminal record which includes multiple arrests for drinking under the influence of alcohol, has six driver's license suspensions to his credit as well as convictions for assaulting a police officer or firefighter and marijuana possession. In fact, Wright was also arrested in 2011 for driving with a suspended license.
While Parsons was always in a critical condition, the initial reports that surfaced last week suggested the worst we had to worry about was that Parsons' MMA career would be cut short having had part of his right leg amputated last week in an effort to save his young life.
However, on Wednesday 4th May, "Pretty Boy" Parsons was taken off life support with his family's blessing.
The GoFundMe account created by Parsons' family was reflective of the positive outlook projected for Parsons. The page was initially created to help raise money for the Michigan native's medical bills. Now, the page is raising funds for the former Bellator prospect's funeral—which is to be held May 21st at Berrien Springs High School in his home state. The fundraising is just $13,000 short of the $50,000 target. You can donate here.
Parsons had moved to Boca Raton, Florida, to train with the Blackzilians team ahead of his fight against Adam Piccolotti. The contest was slated for Saturday night at Bellator 154 in San Jose, California.
Parsons was a three-fight veteran of Bellator and was long considered one of the top prospects of the promotion's featherweight division. Boasting an impressive 11-2 record, Parsons' last contest was against former Division I NCAA wrestler Bubba Jenkins, who won the contest in a close split decision in his favour.
Before his tenure in Bellator, Pretty Boy won the Champion Fighting Alliance featherweight belt, as well as the organization's inaugural tournament at 145lbs, along with Driller Promotions' lightweight title before getting the call to fight under the Bellator banner.
While Piccolotti has a new opponent in place of Parsons in Ray Wood, Bellator 154's missing presence of Parsons is a sobering reminder of his tragic loss.