An MMA fighter from New York City is being hailed a hero after taking down a man who was allegedly attacking people in Manhattan.
Ro Malabanan, a boxing instructor who has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a yellow belt in judo, was walking to work last Wednesday when he saw Samuel Frazier punch a construction worker, the New York Post reported.
After checking on the victim, Malabanan, 44, took down the suspect from behind.
"My jiu-jitsu instincts just kicked in. I jumped on his back," Malabanan said. "He tried to swing me off then — but for those of you in the know — a seatbelt position dragged him down to the floor, and I immediately took his back and pinned him to the ground."
Third-party video footage shared on Instagram by Malabanan shows him pinning Frazier to the ground in the heart of Manhattan’s Soho shopping district. As a crowd gathers, several other people speak out, claiming that the suspect also had assaulted them.
"Out of nowhere people were like, 'Yeah, this guy punched me in the face,' 'Yeah, this guy hit me,' 'This guy hit an old guy,'" Malabanan said.
In the video, Frazier is heard pleading for mercy.
"They were walking into me," he says.
"Nah, that’s bulls–t, bro, you still don’t punch people in the face for no f**king reason," Malabanan replies.
Frazier was arrested and charged with two counts of assault. A police investigation revealed that he had delivered "unprovoked" attacks on a 50-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, although Malabanan believes that number is higher.
Malabanan, who immigrated to New York City from the Philippines at age 9, is no stranger to harassment. He has been targeted because of his Asian heritage but has always been able to de-escalate the situation without fighting. Now he hopes to help other people stand up for themselves by teaching them self-defense.
"A lot of crazies out there in the streets right now so just please be careful," he said. "They will sucker-punch you. They will take out their frustrations."
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