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Dana White, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Yair Rodriguez among letters revealed in Cain Velasquez case

UFC 273: Volkanovski v The Korean Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

UFC President Dana White was among several MMA industry professionals to back Cain Velasquez after the former heavyweight champ was charged with attempted murder.

White’s full letter to the judge in Velasquez’s ongoing murder case, dated March 4, was revealed as an exhibit in a writ of habeas corpus filed this week by the ex-champ’s attorney, Mark Geragos. The high-profile lawyer argues Velasquez has been unfairly denied bail after a trio of hearings and wants a California appellate court to grant his release.

Velasquez, 39, stands accused of chasing down Harry Goularte, the man accused of molesting his close family relative, and engaging in a high-speed chase before firing a .40-caliber handgun into a car carrying Goularte, his mother, and stepfather. The stepfather, Paul Bender, was allegedly struck twice by the gunfire and later testified in court that he feared for his safety if Velasquez was granted a release.

Geragos, who’s repping Velasquez in a separate civil suit against Goularte, argues a recent 5th amendment invocation by Bender in the civil case should invalidate his testimony thus far against Velasquez in the criminal case. The criminal case judge, Shelyna Brown, has rejected that argument and Geragos’ offer to post $1 million bail for Velasquez’s release in addition to other bail conditions such as in-person monitoring and outpatient treatment.

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Velasquez’s longtime American Kickboxing Academy teammate, also submitted a letter of support of the ex-champ, as well as recent UFC Long Island headliner Yair Rodriguez.

Here are the MMA industry veterans’ letters submitted to the court.

Dana White

To the honorable judge of the Santa Clara Superior Court,

I write this reference in full knowledge of Cain Velasquez’s current charges of attempted murder and assault. | was stunned to learn of these charges against him, as they are completely out of character for the man I was proud to say was a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.

I have known Mr. Velasquez for more than 15 years, and during his time as an active athlete with UFC, he represented our company with dignity and always treated others with respect. He was a model example of how a professional athlete should carry himself, projecting a positive image to UFC’s fanbase. Mr. Velasquez was extremely professional and went above and beyond to make a connection with our fans and promote the sport of mixed martial arts—- not only as an entertainment product, but also as a character—building discipline.

As a Mexican American, Mr. Velasquez was proud of his heritage and never passed up an opportunity to visit Mexico on behalf of our company and demonstrate his gratitude to the Mexican fans for their support.

People who know him best describe him as a humble, soft-spoken man who was very much dedicated to his family, including his wife and his two children.

If given the opportunity, I’m sure Mr. Velasquez would like nothing more than to return to his family and continue to make a positive impact on his community.

I sincerely ask that you take this into consideration as you adjudicate next steps in this process concerning Mr. Velasquez.

lf you wish for me to confirm any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Dana White

Khabib Nurmagomedov

To the Honorable Court:

Your honor, my name is Khabib Nurmagomedov. I am best known in your country as the former undefeated world champion for the UFC. I met Cain over ten years ago. We both trained at the same gym in San Jose known as American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). Cain is one of the most respected people in the gym that is full of honorable people. Cain is a leader and family man.

Much of my time with Cain is personal but I can attest that in all of my interactions with the man, he is an honest and kindhearted person who would do anything for his family and friends. He is the type of man that most of us would want on our side in life. These types of experiences were a daily occurrence.

I am aware of the attempted murder charge among others. Although the charges against Cain should be handled in court, it does seem that these charges are a lot based on all the circumstances. I hope that the charges are reviewed and lessened when more details come out. Once this judicial processed is complete, I have strong view that Cain would not pose a risk to commit criminal activity in the future.


Khabib Nurmagomedov

Yair Rodriguez

To the Honorable Court.

My name is Yair Rodriguez, I am currently a UFC fighter ranked #3 in the featherweight division, as Cain Velasquez once was, for whom I am writing currently. One of the people in our sport whom I admire the most and who has been an example and someone that I feel proud of calling my friend, whom has always had nothing but inspiring words for me and set an example of dedication, hard work and family.

Cain Velasquez has represented not only family and friends but courtiers and I’m sure he has changed many lives in a positive and inspiring ways. For many years what I always wanted to achieve as an athlete is getting something close to what he has done and an example of how to be as a person. A family man like I consider myself.

I’ve seen Cain humility and kindness for many years now, even when he was one of the most famous athletes in our sport. He was always someone willing to help and share knowledge, never this violent person now in trouble, or rancorous; instead, someone funny and loving of life and people.

l feel free to mention this because I have read the new about the charges against him, and I want to express my surprise, first because Cain Velasquez has never been in trouble with the law, nor in the middle of any criminal problem as far as I know.

Knowing Cain for as long as 9 years and as I have expressed it, these charges against him are surprising, I hope they will be resolved soon, I am sure that Cain Velasquez does not represent any criminal risk in any way despite everything. Instead, a good example for people that’s looking to get out of streets, addictions, and troubled families.

Thank you very much, your honor, for reading my concerns.


Yair Rodriguez

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