MMA gym owner arrested following gym fight

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It’s an old story – guy walks into a fight gym with a challenge, demands to spar the instructor, and is hopelessly outclassed, ending up prone on the floor. An odd version of that happened recently at Williston Fight Club, in Williston, North Dakota. It may hold a lesson for gym owners.

“I was told someone came in, was being disrespectful so they were asked to leave,” wrote Brennon Ostrander on Facebook. “An agreement to spar occurred. The trespasser got beat then called the police. Josh also called the police because they were still refusing to leave. Then shortly later the video happens. I’m gonna back Josh on this one, not the obviously uncalled for and unexplained therefore illegal arrest.”

Others chimed in with similar accounts.

“That pussy that got him arrested wanted to spar, (in the most disrepectful way),” wrote Joe McRae. “Called the cops when he lost.”

It seems straight forward. The gym owner, retired MMA fighter Josh Lebsock, defeated the fool challenger, and when the miscreant’s friends refused to leave, he called the police. Lebsock then went live on Facebook as he walked outside and confronted the group hanging on his property.

However, moments into the feed, it is Lebsock who is arrested.

Posted by Williston Fight Club on Thursday, August 10, 2017

Radically different scenarios are being offered for what happened.

“Hey Facebook world, I don’t know why I’m getting arrested,” says Lebsock. Shortly afterward he can be heard addressing the arresting officers.

“I told two kids, they came here fine the other day,” said Lebsock. “I told them they were being disrespectful wearing shoes on the mat. I told them to [head across the street?] and they didn’t do it. The other kid wanted to spar. Have you talked to that kid? Have you talked to the older kid? They were instructed not to be in here.”

The mother of one of the youths expressed outrage.

“He assaulted an 11-year-old and a 16-year-old kid! The 11-year-old was my son,” wrote Tia White. “I will be going to court and making sure this punk gets what he deserves for assaulting children!!!!!”

A relative of Lebsock’s had an alternate understanding.

“The whole situation is BS,” wrote Michelle Arp-Lebsock. “No Josh didn’t have a warrant. No this other person WAS NOT a juvenile, he went to the gym and wanted to spar! He got a bloody nose it happens. Josh had told him he needed more work he wasn’t ready the man kept wanting to try. He lost end of story but the police were 100% in the wrong.”

The local PD described their understanding of the situation.

“On August 10th, 2017 at approximately 7p.m., the Williston Police Department responded to a call for service of an assault in the 500 block of East Broadway,” wrote the department on Facebook. “Law Enforcement made contact with a juvenile male. The male indicated that Joshua Lebsock had grabbed him around the neck with Lebsock’s right hand and slapped him with his left. The male indicated he had difficulty breathing while Lebsock had him by the neck. The male also indicated this had transpired during a verbal altercation with Lebsock inside the business.

“Responding officers made contact with Lebsock who was yelling profanities at officers and community members. Lebsock was subsequently arrested and formally charged with C Felony aggravated assault.

“The Williston Police Department fully protects the first amendment rights of our community. As well, the facts of the investigation will be played out in the court of law, allowing for many questions to be answered at that time.
The officers who conducted the arrest of Lebsock did follow department policy and training guidelines that have been put in place for the safety of our community.”

Piecing a narrative together, it appears that an inexperienced figure came out on the wrong end of a gym fight. Then two of his friends, one 16 and one 11, were asked to leave. When they didn’t things got a little physical.

The bottom line is that the days of challenge fights are probably over. If you want to fight, there are abundant opportunities to do so in regulated contests.