A man believed to be a professional mixed martial arts fighter “attacked” a fellow traveler at the Spirit Airlines ticket counter of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, after being denied a flight reportedly because he appeared on the “no-fly” list and provided no identification.
Three witnesses, including a priest, intervened in the brawl, and the alleged instigator, Charles Haywood, was arrested upon police arrival.
The confrontation between Haywood and Ivan Williams took place around 7 p.m. on Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The victim told police that Haywood “struck him in the face several times in addition to kicking and choking him.”
Haywood’s wife told the outlet that her husband is an MMA fighter who was “stressed out” before a big fight, though police have not yet confirmed the information.
Witnesses told officers Haywood threw the first punch, which was caught on camera.
The kerfuffle apparently began when Haywood learned he was not able to board his flight due to his “no-fly list” status and lack of identification, the Journal-Constitution reports. Angered, the 43-year-old Griffin man proceeded to “aggressively approach” other travelers before he “singled out” Williams, WSB-TV reports, and the two sparred.
“It took a priest and two ladies to get him away,” Williams recalled.
Upon police arrival, Haywood did not cooperate and threatened officials, the Journal-Constitution reports. One officer suffered a hand injury during the encounter.
Subsequently arrested on charges of battery and obstruction, Haywood was bailed out of Clayton County Jail the next day.