One of the world’s leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) prospects has been spared jail after he ‘ran amok’ at a Christmas party, assaulting the venue’s owner and six women.
The incident happened when a number of parties – including one for Specsavers’ staff and another with people dressed as Oompa Loompas – took place at All Manor of Events in Henley, near Ipswich, on the night of December 23 and 24.
The burgeoning career of professional fighter Arnold Allen, of Old Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin, now hangs in the balance after he pleaded guilty to affray, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Allen is facing the possibility of having his licence taken away by his sport’s governing body.
He may also have a problem travelling to fight in the US due to his conviction, which could also cause issues with his training camps in Canada where he spends a number of months each year.
Sentencing the 23-year-old, Recorder Richard Christie QC acknowledged Allen, who was drunk, had originally stepped in to protect his girlfriend after she had been in an altercation with another woman.
However, the judge said: “After that you went wild.”
Allen was said by one witness to have been ‘windmilling’ his left arm about while having his right arm around his girlfriend.
While imposing a five-month prison term, suspended for 12 months, on Allen Recorder Christie told him: “You essentially ran amok.
“Your whole career has been [put] on a knife-edge as a result of this.”
Previously prosecutor Michael Crimp said a series of parties were taking place at the venue, including an Oompa Lumpa party with some people dressed in character.
At around midnight a fight broke out. The origin of it was not clear.
Allen’s girlfriend had become involved. People intervened and Allen’s partner was taken to one side by a wall.
Mr Crimp said Allen later told police he believed his girlfriend was being manhandled and he went across due to his concern for her.
Andrew Hayward-Farmer, the owner of All Manor of Events, had been attempting to break up the original melee.
The court was told he already had occasion to speak to Allen earlier in the evening because of his poor behaviour.
After Mr Hayward-Farmer took Allen’s girlfriend to one side, the MMA fighter came up and punched him to the left-hand side of his face, causing him to fall to the floor.
Mr Hayward-Farmer got up and went towards a gate intending to close it, but Allen chased after him kicking his legs from under him.
Mr Hayward-Farmer landed on his back. Allen bent over him and delivered at least two punches to the owner.
As others came over to intervene Allen assaulted six women by punching and lashing out as he flailed away, the court heard.
Part of Mr Hayward-Farmer’s victim personal statement was read out in court.
In it he stated the incident had ruined Christmas for him as it happened on Christmas Eve.
It had also made Mr Hayward-Farmer uneasy about leaving his home, as well as having an impact on his wife – who was also present at the time.
Richard Conley, representing Allen, handed three references to the judge on his client’s behalf – including a ‘glowing’ one from a female Metropolitan Police inspector who trains with Allen.
Mr Conley said Allen was not used to alcohol as he abstains as part of his training regime.
Referring to his client’s consumption of alcohol that evening, the barrister told the court: “It had a marked affect on his behaviour, but more importantly a marked affect on his perceptions. It’s a matter of very deep regret that he’s before this court today.”
It was said Allen, who had no previous convictions, was genuinely remorseful and deeply ashamed.
Mr Conley added: “He’s gone into complete protection mode. He’s abandoned all other considerations. His only consideration was to come to the aid of his girlfriend.”
In addition to his suspended jail term Allen was ordered to pay a total of £3,250 compensation to his victims. He must also undertake 150 hours’ unpaid work and was made subject to a one-month home curfew from 9pm to 7am.
EDWARD R GARCIA