Brett OkamotoESPN Staff WriterClose
- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Live”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
Viana, 26, told MMAJunkie she was waiting for a ride-share in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday evening when a suspicious man approached and demanded her phone. Viana said she hit the man with “two punches and a kick.” She also said she choked the would-be thief and held him until authorities arrived.
“When he saw I saw him, he sat next to me,” Viana told MMAJunkie. “He asked me the time. I said it, and I saw he wasn’t going to leave. So, I already moved to put my cellphone in my waist. And then he said, ‘Give me the phone. Don’t try to react, because I’m armed.’ Then he put his hand over [a gun], but I realized it was too soft.
“He was really close to me. So, I thought, ‘If it’s a gun, he won’t have time to draw it.’ So, I stood up. I threw two punches and a kick. He fell, then I caught him in a rear-naked choke. Then I sat him down in the same place we were before and said, ‘Now we’ll wait for the police.'”
Photos showed Viana and the alleged perpetrator, whose face was badly swollen. UFC president Dana White posted them on his social media accounts on Sunday with a caption that included a hashtag of “#badf—ingidea.”
According to MMAJunkie, the injured man was taken to a medical facility, and Viana has filed a police report. After immobilizing the man, Viana said she learned the “gun” in his possession was a cardboard cutout.
Viana (10-2) has a 1-1 record thus far in the UFC. She did not suffer any injury on Saturday, according to the report, and does not currently have a fight scheduled.