Former UFC fighter Paul Kelly convicted of trafficking heroin, faces lengthy jail time

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paul Kelly holds a fairly unique distinction in the UFC, having been released after a Fight of the Night performance at UFC 126. His name will fall into further infamy after Friday, when he was convicted of trafficking heroin in his native United Kingdom.

According to The Liverpool Echo, jurors returned a unanimous verdict after a four-day trial.

The paper reported that the 28-year-old Kelly is facing a "long" prison sentence as a result, but did not specify possible lengths of time.

Judge Mark Brown told jurors that they'd made the right decision, and that he considered Kelly to be the head man in the organization.

Prosecutors successfully argued that Kelly and his friend Christopher St John McGirr were "major" dealers in the area. They were arrested in May 2012 after a series of raids in Liverpool and Sefton. At the time, marijuana plants, heroin and significant amounts of cash were found, police said.

The Echo reported that when the verdict was announced, Kelly shouted "I've got two kids," and his father was removed from the court after an outburst.

Kelly fought nine times in the UFC from Jan. 2008 to Feb. 2011, going 5-4. His most notable win came over Paul Taylor in his debut, a Fight of the Night winning performance at UFC 80. A 1-2 spell ending in a loss to Donald Cerrone at UFC 126 ushered him out of the promotion. He went on to fight three more times, and as recently as this past March, when he won a fight via TKO.

With his pending jail time, Kelly's professional fighting days are likely to be over.

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