HANFORD — Local authorities say they are looking for professional mixed martial artist Chad “Money” Mendes in connection with a 40-person drunken brawl that broke out at the Lacey Inn Bar on Saturday.
Mendes, 27, allegedly sucker punched a patron in the face and took off running out the back door. Officials say they have not been able to locate him.
The incident started around 1:18 a.m. A deputy on patrol in east Hanford drove past the business and witnessed two people fighting in the parking lot. He got out and intervened, causing one man to turn on him, according to the Kings County Sheriff’s Office.
As the deputy called for backup, more people spilled out of the bar and began fighting. Officials said the melee grew to about 40 people before Hanford police and the county Gang Task Force arrived on the scene to break it up.
That’s when authorities recognized Mendes. He appeared to be intoxicated and began cursing at the deputies and officers, authorities said. They asked him to leave. Instead, he went back inside and struck one man who “never even saw him coming,” Assistant Sheriff Dave Putnam said.
Deputies chased Mendes along the railroad tracks behind the Lacey Inn Bar, but soon lost him in south Hanford. The area native has not been seen since.
“The victim felt lucky to walk out with just a contusion after being punched by Mendes,” Putnam said.
In the days since the brawl, the Sheriff’s Office has made repeated attempts to get a statement from Mendes. They have not been able to reach the Ultimate Fighting Championship contender.
“If we don’t speak with him by Monday, then we’ll request that the District Attorney’s Office file charges against him,” Putnam said. “Then we can pick him up on an arrest warrant.”
It is not clear at this point what, if any, involvement Mendes had in the initial feud or the subsequent 40-person battle.
“With his training as a professional fighter, he could be looking at a charge of assault with a deadly weapon,” Putnam said. “That’s something the District Attorney’s Office will have to weigh out when they make their filing decision.”
Authorities arrested four people at the scene for public intoxication. The case remains under investigation.
Mendes recently made headlines when he defeated Cody McKenzie by technical knockout at UFC 148 in the Las Vegas MGM Grand. He currently stands 12-1 overall.