To the victims of a Wednesday night assault on the streets of Calgary, UFC middleweight Nick Ring was nobody familiar, just a guy coming out of Starbucks. To their attackers, he was about to become a major problem.
It started shortly after 9 p.m., when Ring emerged from a coffee shop to see a group of teenagers attacking a teenage couple as they waited at a bus stop across the street.
"It was a group of about ten guys and one girl who were doing the assault, and the girl had the victim girl by the hair and was kneeing her in the face," Ring told MMA Fighting. "The boyfriend was being held back by some of these other thugs, basically watching his girlfriend get beat up. He was trying his best to protect her, but he was getting beat up too. It was a horrible thing to see."
According to Ring, this is not the kind of thing one sees in Calgary. It’s not the kind of thing anybody wants to see, either, which is why the 33-year-old Ring resolved to do something about it.
The attackers fled as Ring went across the street to check on the victims, who were both "hysterical" and suffering from obvious injuries, he said. Another man -- "a total stranger" -- had gotten out of his car to help. He was the one who first suggested the idea of going after the group.
"He just said, ‘Hey, do you want to go get them?’ I said, ‘Yeah, let’s get these guys right now.’ So we chased them down and caught one."
As they held on to the man they’d caught, Ring took out his cell phone and called the police. Just then some other members of the group came by to see if they couldn’t convince Ring and the other good samaritan to let their friend go.
"Yeah right," Ring said. "I was just like, no. He’s going to jail. You guys are going to jail."
With their friend clearly captured, the group apparently didn’t see any need to stick around and wait to see what the police would say about the matter, so they took off running again. Ring, who was still talking to the police on his cell phone, took off after them.
It is at this point that the alert reader might ask: Wait, doesn’t Ring have a fight coming up soon? Is it really a great idea for him to go running around after large groups of people at night, all while talking on his cellphone?
And it’s true, Ring does have a bout with Court McGee scheduled for the UFC’s debut in Calgary at UFC 149 in just over a month. It’s also true that, were he to call matchmaker Joe Silva and explain that he couldn’t fight on the hometown event because he’d injured himself chasing violent youths through the streets, it might not be a very pleasant conversation. But those fears didn’t enter into his thinking, Ring said. Not until it was all over, anyway.
"When I saw what was happening to those poor victims, I just wanted to make sure that those guys got caught. I was not going to let them get away with that. It was not going to happen. ...What I saw was one of the most cowardly acts I’ve ever seen, and I’m not going to put up with it. If I ever have anything to say about that sort of thing, I’m going to make sure that they get what’s coming to them."
Once cops arrived on the scene, a few of them did. Two teenage boys and a teenage girl were arrested for the assault, according to the Calgary Herald. At least one of the victims was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Ring’s part in all of it wasn’t any major act of heroism, he stressed, but it was one of obligation. It was the least a pro fighter could do to put his skills to good use, he said, and it was what he hoped others would do for him and for each other.
"Calgary is a very low crime area. We don’t see this kind of stuff happen very often. ...When it does happen, it’s a big shock to everybody. That’s exactly what makes this a good city, is that stuff like this doesn’t happen very often. In order to keep it that way, we have to do something when we see stuff like that. Because it might not be you that’s being victimized this time, but next time it could be."