World of Sport

MMA fighter foils armed robbery

World of Sport

An MMA fighter and Iraq veteran has foiled a robbery at a shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Zack Thome had popped into his local convenience store to pick up a few bits and pieces when he realised that a robbery was taking place.

"I look at the cashier, I kind of know him, I come in there every day," said Thome.

"I whispered to him, I mouthed to him, 'Are you getting robbed right now?' He said, 'Yeah,' like really scared."

No wonder he looked scared: accused robber Brandon Slanger had allegedly just threatened to shoot him.

"He said, 'give me the money or I'm going to shoot you.  I have a gun in my pocket. I'm going to shoot you, give me the money," shop owner Sunny Singh confirmed later after speaking to his shaken employee.

The clerk initially stood his ground, sparking a brief tussle that allowed Thome the perfect opportunity to step in and tackle Slanger, taking him round the neck and wrestling him to the ground where he held him in a martial arts grip until police arrived on the scene. Slanger has now been charged with assault with intent to commit an armed robbery.

The vigilante hero played down his bravery.

"I live right next to the place, you know, I'm in there every day," Thome said. "I think if it was the other way around, if I worked there and the guy at the register was there, he would have done the same thing,"

Since leaving the army Thome has started studying for a degree at Grand Valley State University while simultaneously starting up a new MMA career. He had been in training for his first fight next month - and after tackling a thief, stepping into the MMA octagon probably won't feel half as daunting.

Video: Fox 17 News

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