Why is the guilty verdict of one of Boston's most notorious mob bosses front page news on a mixed martial arts (MMA) website?
Well, if it wasn't for James "Whitey" Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang "goons" running Dana White out of Boston, Mass., in the early 1990's, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts (MMA) for that matter, might not be where it is today.
According to the UFC President, Bulger and Co. wanted $2,500 of profits he made from the boxing gym he ran in South Boston. White was unable to come up with the cash and unwilling to end up floating face-down in the Charles River, so he packed his bags and bolted to Las Vegas, Nevada.
And the rest, as they say, is history as White's move to "Sin City" proved to be the best decision he made for his career ... and apparently his health. He hooked up with his childhood friends, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, and convinced them to make a $2 million investment in the struggling brand that is now worth more than $1 billion.
Bulger, meanwhile, went on a different kind run for 16 years once the heat got a little too hot. He was eventually arrested in 2011 and was today found guilty (via Huffington Post) of 11 murders to go along with racketeering charges in a Federal court in Boston.
The Associated Press has details of some of "Whitey's" heinous acts:
He was charged primarily with racketeering, a catchall offense that listed 33 criminal acts - among them, 19 murders that he allegedly helped orchestrate or carried out himself during the 1970s and '80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston's ruthless Irish mob. The racketeering charge also included acts of extortion, money-laundering and drug dealing. The jury had to find he committed only two of those acts to convict him of racketeering. After 4½ days of deliberations, it decided he took part in 11 of those murders, along with nearly all of the other crimes. Bulger could get life in prison. But given his age, even a modest term could amount to a life sentence for the slightly stooped, white-bearded Bulger. Among other things, Bulger was accused of strangling two women with his bare hands, shooting two men in the head after chaining them to chairs and interrogating them for hours, and opening fire on two men as they left a South Boston restaurant. Bulger, the model for Jack Nicholson's sinister crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie "The Departed," was seen for years as a kind of benevolent tough guy who bought Thanksgiving turkeys for fellow residents of working-class South Boston and kept hard drugs out of the neighborhood. But that image was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies.
Talk about dodging a bullet, Dana.
The trial lasted 40 days, which included a five-day jury deliberation for the hammer to finally come down on Bulger, 83, who now faces life in prison for his participation in the crimes during his reign as leader of Boston's Irish mob.
His sentencing is set for Nov. 13, 2013.
Coincidentally enough, the news comes the same week the promotion returns to Boston as White and Co. present UFC Fight Night 26 this weekend (Aug. 17, 2013) from TD Bank Garden, which features a Light Heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Mauricio Rua.
Now, if White can just get those other "dirty gangsters" off his back.