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MMA Gym Owner in Florida Arrested on Charges of Sexual Battery; Students Defend his Honor

Photo taken by Miami-Dade Corrections

A South Florida MMA gym owner was arrested on charges of sexual battery and sexual molestation of a 15-year-old teenager, according to a report by NBC Miami.

Howard Scott Puig owned and operated the Padrino MMA gym, a place where he also offered youth housing for teenagers in the Hialeah community.

Back in September, the Hialeah police arrested him with three counts of lewd and lascivious battery and three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.

Hialeah police said that the boy was forced to inhale an unknown substance from a brown bottle on three separate occasions and that the substance prevented the youth from moving as Puig performed oral sex on him.  Also, police officials said that the victim performed other sex acts while on the unknown substance from the brown bottle.

Puig has since denied all allegations and has stated that he doesn’t fear what’s going to happen, even after his gym was shut down by the Hialeah Building Department for several violations.

“I don’t have nothing to fear because I didn’t do nothing, I’m okay,” Puig told NBC Miami.  “I will keep going in my life.

Since the allegations, Puig’s students quickly came to vouch for their instructor’s character and believed that all Puig wanted to do was help the community.

“Basically it’s all a lie,” said former student Felix Roca, who also once lived at the gym.  “I was one of the first persons in the gym. The owner of the gym helped me a lot.”

“I’ve never seen an act of him being that type of person,” said Hansel Rojo.  “He just helps out the community.”

Puig is not alone in being accused of sexual abuse. MMA coach and jiu-jitsu black belt Lloyd Irvin was tied to a scandal in 1989 when he was accused then acquitted of gang raping a 17-year-old girl. Also, last New Year’s Eve, two of Irvin’s students were accused of raping a female member of the Irvin team. The trial for the accused students, Matthew Maldonado and Nicholas Schultz, began yesterday, Tuesday.

Keep up with Scifighting.com as more information on Puig’s case becomes available.