Many of Cain Velasquez’s longtime teammates and friends continue to rally support for the former UFC heavyweight champion, who remains in jail on attempted murder charges and faces an arduous legal battle.
“To see his family not have him over a system that has failed us is not fair – it sucks,” Luke Rockhold told MMA Fighting. “It’s just not fair. Cain did not play a smart role in doing what he did, but the system is completely disgusting where they can allow a man like that to go free [and] go back [home].”
Rockhold, who once counted Velasquez as one of his closest teammates at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., has done whatever he can to bring attention to the situation. Velasquez was arrested in February after he allegedly engaged in a high-speed chase and fired multiple rounds from a .40-caliber handgun at a car carrying Harry Goularte, who is accused of molesting his 4-year-old son. Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender, was struck by a bullet during the alleged incident and later treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“Knowingly letting the guy go free back to that situation once you’re molesting kids and releasing him back to the premises of a daycare where he lives, where he molested his children,” Rockhold continued. “Like, what the f***? No bail? No bail and they’re allowing a person to go back to that standard. It’s so pathetic how twisted our world is and how pathetic things are. need to be punished. [Pedophiles] need to be elevated in that situation, it’s just stupid.”
Goularte was released from custody after his arrest over the objections of prosecutors and has pleaded not guilty to the felony charges against him. Rockhold believes that’s where the problem really started.
Velasquez was denied bail during his initial arraignment in March, and bail was denied again by Judge Shelyna Brown in May as she condemned his actions as a “reckless disregard for human life.” At the initial hearing, Velasquez received a number of letters written on his behalf, including one from UFC President Dana White.
Many friends, family members and teammates have packed the courtroom during all of his hearings in the case.
Rockhold would like to see more attention paid to Velasquez’s ongoing legal battle, which is why he’s pushing for the UFC to induct the former heavyweight champion into the Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022.
“I think Cain should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago,” Rockhold explained. “One of the first ever. One of the nastiest, greatest champions of all time. I was trying to push for him to get his Hall of Fame bid this year to bring more attention to it, which I think we should all push for. I think Cain should bring more attention to the situation.”
It doesn’t appear that the UFC will make that call; the next induction ceremony is scheduled for July. But Rockhold still hopes a public push could result in Velasquez earning his spot among the best fighters to ever compete inside the octagon.
“Cain for Hall of Fame 2022, let’s go,” Rockhold said. “Bringing this to surface as much as we can and everyone can get behind him. Let’s show what Cain is.”
Velasquez is due back in court on Friday when he appears before a judge for his plea hearing. If convicted of all charges, he faces 20 years to life in prison.
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