Ururahy Rodrigues owns a mixed martial arts gym in Villa Rica, Georgia called Dekfon 1. The gym, like many around the country, is part of a strip mall. In many cases, the owners of those businesses, with their similar goals and dreams, become friends. They help each other when necessary, and bond over their shared experiences. It is in some ways, just another kind of community, one that can be touched by joy or fortune or unfortunately, violence.
On Wednesday afternoon in Villa Rica -- a place nicknamed "The City of Gold" -- four men allegedly stormed into The Mobley Company Jewelers, Inc., and began smashing a glass display case with a sledgehammer in an attempt to steal valuables. Seconds later, they were confronted by the store's owner, 45-year-old Mitch Mobley. At that point, Mobley was shot, allegedly by 16-year-old Eric Billings, and immediately afterward, the panicked suspects ran.
Rodrigues' gym is right next door, and he immediately sprang into action, running outside and chasing Billings down.
According to WSBTV, Rodrigues took Billings to the ground and held him in a choke hold until police arrived and could take him into custody.
Billings has been charged as an adult with murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. According to news reports, Magistrate Court Judge Alton Johnson said Billings faces the possibility of the death penalty for his role.
The 34-year-old Rodrigues is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who has fought professionally 10 times, and has a record of 5-5. His last fight came in February, when he was invited to compete on a Bellator preliminary card in Atlanta, only 30 miles from his gym. In that bout, he lost by third-round TKO to former UFC fighter Clay Harvison. Among other notables on his career record is current UFC featherweight Diego Brandao. Rodrigues defeated him via unanimous decision in 2010.
Since news of the tragic incident broke, Rodrigues has declined attention and deflected praise for his actions, telling WSBTV, "I'm not a hero."
Police arrested a second suspect, Raphael Rucker, on Thursday, and three more, including the getaway driver, are still at large. In hopes of expediting their capture, Rodrigues released video from his gym's surveillance system to the police and media.