Bellator veteran Melvin Manhoef said he could face criminal charges for apprehending a trio of alleged burglars at his house on Monday. But he was unapologetic for what he said was a reaction to a threat against his family.
“I [told police] if it happened again, I’m going to do it again, because it’s my family,” he told MMA Fighting.
Manhoef had just given a statement to police near Amsterdam. He said he still had glass in his hand from punching through the window of the alleged burglars’ car after running it off the road.
When police arrived at the scene of the apprehension, Manhoef said he and neighborhood residents had already detained the men, whom he said were later taken to the station. The fighter believes he foiled a crime by interrupting them and then taking action.
“I [made] the right call, and they got the wrong one,” he said.
A picture that appears to show two of the men – and Manhoef – circulated on social media in the aftermath of the incident.
Hollanda’da boksör Melvin Manhoef, evine giren hırsızları kaçarken arabayla durdurup dövüp polise teslim etmiş… fotoğrafda ki karizma şaka mı pic.twitter.com/0NN9zvVZHy— Galatasaray Hollanda (@GS_Hollanda) March 28, 2022
Manhoef said he had already complained to the police about the alleged burglars. He claimed the men had cased his house on several occasions, beginning this past Saturday when he went to Paris to promote his retirement fight, a light heavyweight meeting with Yoel Romero at Bellator 280, and had asked friends and family to watch over the neighborhood.
The men first tested the waters by placing papers in his door, Manhoef said, to see if someone in the house removed them. He said his wife asked neighbors with a security camera to see what happened, and footage revealed a man looking inside their home. The man later returned with a car, he said, and left when a light in the house turned on. The neighbors recorded the car’s make and license plate.
On Monday, he said he and his wife were out of the house when his neighbors called to say the men were back. He rushed back and found nothing, but decided to lie in wait for the car. After 30 minutes, he was about to leave when the car reappeared.
“I pulled my car in front of them, and I was watching them,” he said. “They saw me, and they were looking at me, and they took a slight turn and went away. After that, I was chasing them.
“I chased them, and then I crashed into them on the back side, and I couldn’t stop them because they were still going fast. And then I go to the side, and I hit them from the side. So they go into the, how do you call it, the side of the road, and the car was, like, turning and slipping. And we crashed.
“So I crashed, I crashed the whole car, and then the car stopped in the middle of the road, like horizontal, in the middle of the road. And I jumped out of the car and I said, ‘Come over here,’ because they had their burglar stuff to go in the house. I said, ‘Open the window,’ and I smashed the window in, and I pulled the guy out, opened the door, and put the guy on the ground. I was yelling, I was going like crazy. Everybody put their hands and knees on the ground. Some people were helping, they came out of their houses, and they called 911. In a few minutes, they were there.”
Manhoef said the road where the collision happened was isolated and no one was seriously hurt.
The fighter called it “a shame” to have to escalate the situation by taking the law into his own hands. Normally, he said, his neighborhood is quiet, and he avoids confrontation. When his family was threatened, though, he felt compelled to act.
“Because if they’re going to burgle in and my wife is there, they tie my wife or my kid up, I couldn’t forgive myself,” he said. “My instinct was, you cannot come around my family. This is like, rule No. 1. Don’t touch my family. If you do that, yeah, you’re going to pay for it.”
“If I have to face charges, it is what it is,” he added later. “I did something wrong because I hit the car, but I hit it with a purpose, because I know they were in my house.”
The legal ramifications of Manhoef’s actions are unclear at this point, but he said his hand injury shouldn’t keep him out of the gym for more than two weeks. He’s looking forward to retirement.
“I’m 45, and the young guys, they want the throne, so sometimes you have to step away and do something else,” he said.