MMA Getting a Lot of Bad Press in BC

Prominent fighter in trouble with the law.

VANCOUVER — A competitive mixed martial arts fighter known as “Ruthless” Ryan Chiappe has been banned from Prince George and is facing 10 criminal charges including assault and the theft of a puppy.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 4, Mounties received a complaint about a stolen nine-month-old pit bull, and say Chiappe was suspected of the theft.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Craig Douglass says the MMA fighter is also charged with assault causing bodily harm, extortion and uttering threats. Police also searched his home and found two allegedly stolen motor bikes.

Douglass said he couldn’t release any details about the other charges because the case in now before the court.

Chiappe was arrested the same day he was found in possession of the puppy, and later released on conditions, said Douglass, including that he is not allowed to come within 50 kilometres of Prince George, except to attend court.

Douglass says RCMP in Prince George are “very familiar” with the pro fighter and have had nearly 100 interactions with him since 2007.

On his Facebook page, Chiappe says he is a middleweight champion of the King of the Cage, a mixed martial arts competition, which started in Edmonton in 2005. He says he has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has won the numerous grappling titles.

Chiappe has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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BJJ competitor nearly kills psychiatrist.

The man accused of a violent assault on a doctor in the psychiatric unit at Penticton Regional Hospital last Friday is an accomplished martial arts champion.

According to a local MMA Facebook page, Gregory Nield was the BC provincial heavyweight blue belt champion in Jiu-Jitsu and absolute silver medalist in 2012, and had a great showing at the Western Canadian Championships 2013, with a double gold in blue belt adult.

He was also the 2013 world heavy weight bronze medalist.

Nield's feats have also been featured in local newspapers in recent years.

Erik Lund, an instructor at the Jiu-Jitsu studio on Wade Avenue and also a Penticton lawyer, is currently defending Nield in the assault case. He declined to comment on the situation.

Photo: Contributed - Facebook
Interior Health spokeswoman Grace Kucey declined to comment on how long Nield has been a patient, stating that is private information. Nor would she comment on the condition of the doctor who was attacked on Friday.

Nield's first court appearance on the matter was Tuesday in Penticton.

As he entered the courthouse, he shouted to the media that his rights have been taken away and he has not been allowed to shower or brush his teeth.

He then added that the sheriffs had been very nice to him.

Judge Gale Sinclair ordered a psychiatric assessment for Nield, and for him to be held for a maximum of 30 days at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.

His next court appearance by video is scheduled for Jan. 7.

BC Gym gets busted under consumer protection laws.

A martial arts facility in Fort St. John is facing stiff penalties after it was found to have violated several sections of B.C.’s consumer protection laws involving cancellation fees and refunds.

Consumer Protection BC opened an investigation into Fivestar Athletics Inc. following a complaint that the business was illegally entering customers into verbal contracts and denying contract cancellation rights.

The business was ordered to refund a consumer $1,560, pay penalties totalling $2,300, and reimburse Consumer Protection BC $500 for partial inspection costs. It has also been ordered to immediately comply with contract requirements under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Consumer Contracts Regulation.

“Contracts required by martial arts studios and gyms are called continuing service contracts and this business sector needs to know there are serious consequences for breaking the law,” said Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokeswoman for Consumer Protection BC.

“The bottom line is that verbal contracts are not allowed and cancellation rights must be honoured.”

Fivestar Athletics has 30 days to request a reconsideration of these enforcement actions.

This is not the first time a gym or health facility has been brought in line by the Consumer Protection BC for violating contracts. Earlier this year, K Fitness in Burnaby was also ordered to pay refunds to two consumers involving verbal contracts.

Consumer Protection BC is only responsible for regulating fitness contracts as it pertains to required contents and cancellation rights. Since it doesn’t license the industry, it relies on consumer complaints to raise issues and said on average, two per cent of all calls and emails it received between 2011 and 2013 were about the fitness industry.

During that time, 21 investigations were conducted on businesses offering fitness or self-defence continuing services contracts, with the main issues being non-complaint contracts that automatically allow for the right to cancel, and the supplier refusing to provide a refund where a consumer is exercising a right given under the law to cancel.

Chabeaux-Smith said in many cases, fitness facilities aren’t aware of the laws and voluntarily comply when they find out. A small random sampling of 10 fitness and health centres in B.C. this year found nine were using non-compliant fitness contracts and all were unfamiliar with the laws.

She said the sampling was conducted out of curiosity as well as a “business education exercise and to get a sense of how many of these types of businesses were familiar with B.C.’s consumer protection/contract laws.”

It was surprising, she said, that most of them didn’t have the requirements around cancellation written in the policy.

“The law is in place to protect consumers. It’s also in the business’s best interest as well because if their contacts follows the law, it benefits them as well,” Chabeaux-Smith said.

She noted the businesses are always given the chance to voluntarily bring their regulations into line before any penalties are laid.

“We’ve had a couple this year that we’ve taken enforcement action against and ordered consumer refunds,” she said.

Chabeaux-Smith said the organization decided to highlight the recent penalties facing Fivestar Athletics to remind business, as well as consumers, about their rights ahead of the busy Christmas season and New Year, when many people make resolutions to join a gym and get fit.

She said consumers should also know that they can cancel their fitness contract within 10 days of signing, no matter what; they can cancel at any point if they move 30 km away from the gym and comparable facilities aren’t available; and that all fitness contracts must be in writing and have to contain certain information, as outlined by B.C. law.

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Les Dickens' revenge?

MMA fighter racks up more charges, and another big news article in The Province.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A mixed martial arts fighter already accused of stealing a puppy and other offences including assault and obstructing justice is now facing several drug-related charges.

The additional charges have been approved against Ryan “Ruthless” Chiappe, 35, after two traffic stops in Prince George, RCMP say.

Police said they found more than 10 grams of heroin, with an estimated street value of more than $4,000, when they stopped Chiappe on the morning of Nov. 21.

His uninsured vehicle was towed and Chiappe was issued violation tickets.

Then, on the evening of Nov. 25, the same vehicle was stopped with Chiappe again behind the wheel, police said.

Mounties said they found more than two ounces of methamphetamine and 3.5 grams of cocaine, adding up to $5,000, plus drug trafficking paraphernalia and a large sum of cash.

Martha Marie Paquette, 27, was also arrested.

Chiappe now faces three counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Paquette has been charged with two counts of trafficking.

Chiappe also continues to face charges in relation to a nine-month-old pit bull police say they found in his vehicle when he was pulled over on Dec. 5.

RCMP say they also executed a search warrant on a home associated with Chiappe and found two stolen motorcycles.

As a result, Chiappe was charged with various offences including theft, possession of stolen property, assault causing bodily harm, obstructing justice, extortion and uttering threats.

He also faces breach charges from further incidents in Mackenzie, where he was arrested on Dec. 12 for two alleged breaches of conditions and again on Tuesday, also for two alleged breaches of conditions.

One of the conditions of his release from custody is that he stay at least 50 kilometres away from Prince George except for court appearances.

According to Tapology, a website devoted to the sport, Chiappe has a record of 10 wins and eight losses, his most recent fight a first-round knockout win in August 2013 at the Five Star Fight League 8 Barefoot Beach Battle in Penticton.

Since then, five fights involving Chiappe have been cancelled and an injury to Chiappe has been posted as the reason for one cancellation.

The website lists him as born in Prince George and fighting out of Vancouver.

Chiappe is well known to police, who say they’ve had more than 100 contacts with him since 2007.

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