Famous MMA fighter claims self-defense after shooting a man dead in fight over parking space

The ex-MMA fighter Shannon Ritch had just returned from a trip to Doha, Qatar before the shooting in Arizona

Monday 17 June 2024 18:11 BST
Shannon Ritch, pictured at a film premiere in 2023, is claiming self-defense after police say he shot a man in an Arizona parking lot
Shannon Ritch, pictured at a film premiere in 2023, is claiming self-defense after police say he shot a man in an Arizona parking lot (Getty Images for Ramin Sohrab)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A former Mixed Martial Arts fighter is claiming self-defense after police say he fatally shot a man in a parking-related dispute.

On Saturday, ex-fighter Shannon Ritch was in a spat with Alejandro Samplina in a Phoenix lot, authorities told Fox 10 Phoenix. No details on what led to the disagreement were released.

Ritch, 53, told officers Samplina was chasing him with a knife around his car. Ritch then took a handgun from his car and shot Samplina, Phoenix Police Sergeant Mayra Reeson told Fox 10.

The 32-year-old was taken to an Arizona hospital, where he later died.

Ritch stayed at the scene and told police he shot Samplina in self-defense, which Reeson said was “consistent with witnesses and surveillance video,” Fox 10 reports. As a result, Ritch is no longer in custody, according to Fox 10, and police will be submitting charges to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Shannon Ritch, pictured at a film premiere in 2023, is claiming self-defense after police say he shot a man in an Arizona parking lot
Shannon Ritch, pictured at a film premiere in 2023, is claiming self-defense after police say he shot a man in an Arizona parking lot (Getty Images for Ramin Sohrab)

The ex-MMA fighter had just returned from a trip to Doha, Qatar ,for a fight, according to his Instagram.

“Just landed in Phoenix, Arizona, from a long, long trip to Doha, Qatar,” Ritch said in an Instagram video posted on June 11. “I’ve been up for around 40 hours.”

Ritch, whose fighting nickname was “The Cannon,” last professionally fought in 2019, according to ESPN. The 53-year-old, who has more than 53,000 followers on Instagram, is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a stunt actor.

Ritch won several titles in his MMA career, including the Middleweight Champion for the King of the Cage tournament and the BKFC International Heavyweight Champion in bare-knuckle boxing.

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