When Paul Kelly got his walking papers from the UFC, some could argue that he was hard done by. A 9 fight veteran, he was 5-4 with the promotion and left on only a single loss at the hands of divisional mainstay Donald Cerrone. It's hardly a resume that screams inadequacy, but perhaps the UFC knew something about the kind of man that Kelly was when they cut him loose...
After an attempt to immediately jumpstart his career failed, with a decision loss at Super Fight League 2 to Ryan Healy, Kelly's income wained. Used to pulling in as much as £100,000 a year, Kelly looked for an easy way to maintain the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed. That was when he and childhood friend Christopher St John McGirr decided to traffic heroin.
Following a lengthy investigation, Kelly and his associates were arrested and charged with the trafficking and sale of heroin, cannabis, and cocaine. Prosecutors labeled Kelly as the brains of the operation, the "hard man" who did little of the actual buying and selling, but organized the operation behind the scenes.
Judge Mark Brown handed down the verdict:
"You are an individual who has traveled widely in the course of MMA and as such would have contacts abroad.
"It is significant that the seizures involved large amounts of import quality heroin.
"In my judgement you decided to supply Class A drugs when your contract with UFC was terminated. You obviously enjoyed the high life and saw selling heroin as an easy way to make money." (via LiverpoolEcho.co.uk)
Kelly received a 13 year prison sentence following his guilty verdict at his trial in May. His associate, McGirr, received 11 years along with shorter sentences for several other known associates.