A Texas gas station clerk who moonlights as an MMA fighter managed to save a co-worker from an attempted robbery earlier this month, earning praise from UFC president Dana White in the process.
Mayura Dissanayake, a semi-pro competitor, was working behind the counter at a Fuel Depot on July 10 when he noticed a pair of men attack a co-worker who had just returned from the bank, Houston news station KPRC reports. Surveillance captured footage of Dissanayake as he jumped to his co-worker’s defense, using his skills as a martial artist to prevent the robbery.
“The first guy I saw, I just kicked him in the face,” Dissanayake told KPRC. “Then I punched the other guy.”
Dissanayake’s attack on one of the robbers was so ferocious that his accomplices fled the scene rather than wait for him to escape. “I just kicked him until he lays down on the floor,” he added. “Until he stopped moving cause I wasn’t sure if he had a knife or a gun so I wanted him to stop moving.”
Local police arrested 33-year-old Odell Mathis in connection with the assault. They declined to release his mug shot over concerns that he may have been involved in other crimes.
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“The policy [at Fuel Depot] is … if someone steals something, I’m told to not chase after them,” Dissanayake told TMZ Sports. “But in this instance it wasn’t someone stealing something, it was my friend who was in trouble. I had to help.”
A former MMA national champion in Sri Lanka, Dissanayake still trains five times a week in the hope of landing a professional contract. “I want to make it to the UFC. That is my dream … the whole reason I moved to the States,” he added.
Dissanayake’s exploits at the gas station also captured White’s attention. “I love it,” White, UFC's president, told TMZ Sports. “Mixed Martial Arts is the new martial art that people are taking all over the world. Although I don’t recommend crime fighting … but dirtbags should beware.”