- Ryan Hockensmith
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Jeff Monson was in North Carolina last Thursday. By Saturday, he was facing down jail time.
Wednesday afternoon, Monson says seven police cars swarmed his Olympia home, only to find the fighter not around. They spoke with his teenage daughter, who immediately called The Snowman and informed him an arrest warrant had been issued for him.
The charges: malicious mischief (a class B felony) for spray-painting the anarchist logo and anti-war sentiments on pillars fronting the Olympia capitol building. Investigators say the break in the case came when the Dec. 29 issue of ESPN The Magazine arrived, featuring a story about Monson and his political views, complete with evidence.
Exhibit A: a photo of Monson in the act. (It can be found here.)
At the end of a photo shoot with The Magazine, Monson grabbed a can of spray-paint from his pocket and did the deed, without giving the photographer advanced warning. "I would have done it with you guys there, or not," the fighter says. "The opportunity presented itself, and I took it."
"I would have done it with you guys there, or not," the fighter says. "The opportunity presented itself, and I took it."
Monson planned to return to Olympia some time over the weekend and go, as requested, to the city police department office and surrender.
"I will go peacefully," Monson says. "I fight for a living, but I'm not violent outside of the cage."
He does, however, plan to fight the charges. Through his connections in the anarchist movement, Monson has an attorney lined up. He wants to turn himself in, make bail, return to his house…and proceed to pay zero cents of the $19,000 worth of damage he's alleged to have made (cleanup of the building can be seen on this news footage).
"I knew the consequences of tagging the capitol," he says. "But I'm never going to pay a dime to the government until this war (in Iraq) is ended."
Instead, Monson plans to continue training for the biggest payday of his career, a proposed March fight in Japan against unbeaten Roger Gracie. The paperwork hasn't been completed, but if the deal goes through as planned, Monson will earn $200,000 to fight and another $50,000 to win.
Unless, of course, he isn't allowed to leave the country.
"This is how I make a living, so I don't think they can prevent me from fighting," he says. "I have a family to support."
But what about his family, wife Jennifer and his two teenage kids? Why not just pay the fine and plead out the case?
"No way," Monson says. "I know it sounds crazy, but I want to use this as a platform for my beliefs. My family is proud of me for sticking to what I believe, and they support me in this. This is about more than just spray-painting a building. It's about fighting poverty and ending a senseless war."
Echoing the same statement he made in our magazine profile, Monson says, "I don't want to go to prison, but I will. This is about more than just spray-painting a building. It's about fighting poverty and ending a senseless war. I'll go to jail for that."
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