On Friday night, while leaving the UFC 295 weigh-ins, a UFC van carrying several fighters was caught up in a pro-Palestine demonstration.
The incident was caught on video and several of the occupants of the fan spoke about the terrifying moment.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill shared a video of the protesters opening the doors of the van and putting stickers on the windows.
"You f*ckin pussies blocked out van and started attacking us!! The van is still park at the light behind the line!!! Thank god that the didn’t let me out!!!" he tweeted after someone accused the van of trying to "drive through" the march.
"Shout to UFC security and staff they good above and beyond to protect us and make sure we are taken care of and its truly a blessing to have you all!!!!" he also tweeted.
MMA manager, Brian Butler-Au was also in the van and he shared several videos on his official Instagram and detailed what happened from his perspective.
"We are living in a crazy times," he wrote. "This could have escalated very badly. This was a sliver of a hair away from being catastrophic. Our sprinter was caught in what seemed to be a flash protest. Protesters swarmed the sprinter once someone noticed some ufc logos in or on the vehicle… Driver was almost pulled out of the van, windows were broken and our tires were slashed… we were stuck in the middle of the intersection getting swarmed. Thankfully everyone is safe. Have to commend the @ufc security team for reacting and coming on foot to clear a path and escort everyone out. They reacted faster that the NYPD."
“We saw the parade of people coming and we saw all these flags, then we were like, ‘Oh, man. We’re about to get stuck in this,'” Butler told MMA Junkie. “People were saying, ‘Go, step on the gas. Step on the gas.’ People started trickling over because we were at the very front. I think they were curious because it was a big Sprinter van, so they started coming up and putting their signs and stuff up on the window. Then they got a look inside and they could see it was UFC security in there, and they were like, ‘Oh, UFC people.’ Then they started saying stuff like, you know, just mob mentality stuff. Nothing other than that sheer energy that was going on. It was like, ‘UFC people are bitches,’ UFC people are this and that.
“Then that kind of infuriated Jamahal. Jamahal started seeing red, so it was an issue trying to get him calmed down. But it started escalating pretty quickly. … It went from zero to having the whole vehicle surrounded and banging on it. The windows started breaking, and then Jamahal said he saw someone pull out a knife and they slashed all our tires. It could have been a very bad situation, but it ended well. I do have to say that the UFC security and staff was on point. The people that were on the bus with us were calling for backup.”
He said the NYPD and UFC security was able to get the van safely back across the intersection and away from the crowd where they then walked due to the tires being slashed.
Robbie Lawler told the van 'Conserve your energy. If these doors open, we’re going to need every ounce of it'
Butler said that, contrary to the way Hill reacted, Lawler was calm and collected.
“Robbie had probably one of the most Robbie Lawler moments,” Butler said. “… He was just saying, ‘Conserve your energy. If these doors open, we’re going to need every ounce of it.’ It was very Robbie, because he was just sitting there still. Meanwhile, on the other end of the van, Jamahal is getting very irritated with people. Once Jamahal calmed down, everything was good.”