This weekend MMA journalist Amy Kaplan published a series of direct messages sent to her by former UFC fighter Michael Graves. In those messages Graves attacks and insults Kaplan for her reporting of Jon Jones’ battery domestic violence arrest.
Graves was arrested for misdemeanor battery (family violence) in 2016. That arrest lead to a rare statement from the UFC, which read:
“The UFC organization is aware that Michael Graves was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor battery charge. The organization takes this situation seriously and is in the process of gathering more information.
Graves has been removed from his scheduled bout on Nov. 19 as a result of the pending legal matter.”
MMA Fighting later reported that Graves’ arrest stemmed from accusations that he assaulted his then fiancée. That outlet cited a police report, which claimed Graves was suspected of punching his fiancée and then grabbing her head with his left hand and elbowing her with his right elbow.
The police report stated that officers on the scene observed that Graves’ fiancee was “severely swollen”.
In 2017 the UFC officially announced that they had released Graves after completion of a third-party investigation. News of Graves’ release was accompanied by the following statement:
“In November 2016, welterweight Michael Graves was removed from his UFC bout following his arrest. As a potential violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy, the UFC organization temporarily barred Graves from competition pending the completion of a third-party investigation. Based on the findings of this thorough review and investigation, UFC has advised Graves that he has been released from his contract effective immediately.
“UFC requires all athletes to act in an ethical and responsible manner, as mandated by the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. UFC holds its athletes to the highest standard and will continue to take appropriate action if and when warranted.”
After Graves’ messages to Kaplan went public, Graves posted a number of tweets disparaging MMA media. Those messages included repeated use of anti-gay and ableist slurs. In some of his messages Graves shared his location and claimed he had a dagger and a pistol, adding that he was eager to encounter people who were disagreeing with him online.
A number of those tweets also appeared to threaten Kaplan.
Graves also mentioned Dana White and lamented the fact he did not attack the UFC President when White was last in Memphis. Another of Graves’ tweets celebrated that he was verified on twitter despite being a “woman beating straight white male”.
After his release from the UFC Graves fought for Titan FC, winning that promotion’s welterweight title. He was stripped of that belt in his last appearance, at Titan FC 65 in November 2020, for missing weight.
MMA Fighting reached out to Titan FC regarding Graves. They were told that Graves “has not been a contracted Titan fighter for some time.”