The UFC recently signed Cody East to its roster. The heavyweight is reported to fight Walt Harris on the preliminary card of UFC 197 on April 23rd. East has been a pro since 2008 and has racked up a 12-1 record with 11 of those victories ending in either knockout or submission.
East's signing doesn't come with out controversy. A rather lengthy controversy which goes all the way back to his high school days as a state champion wrestler for Los Lunas High School in New Mexico. The most serious of his charges was rape.
Here is a breakdown of East's long list of illegal activities, according to various news sources:
September 2005 - East Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges
Los Lunas Police Detective Capt. Charles Nuanes said 17-year-old Cody East was taken into custody while at school Friday morning. East is being charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, four counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and one count of false imprisonment.
East was being held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Albuquerque and was scheduled to make his first appearance in children's court in Los Lunas on Monday.
According to Nuanes, East's arrest came almost a week after the parents of the girl called to charge that their daughter had been sexually assaulted in a Los Lunas home. Nuanes said after interviewing several witnesses, including the alleged victim, a warrant was issued for East's arrest.
East pleaded innocent to the charges and was reinstated back into his school's wrestling program. After serving a little over a month in juvenile detention, he was placed under house arrest and required to wear a monitoring device on his ankle.
August 2006 - Request to Attend Out-of-State College Denied After Repeatedly Violating Conditional Terms
During the recent hearing on changing East's conditions of release, Assistant District Attorney Beverly Taylor told the judge East had violated those conditions several times, even after being warned, the News-Bulletin reported.
A juvenile probation officer testified that East's electronic monitor had shown he was out of range for several minutes at a time on four different days this month and that he was reported out of range two months ago when his parents took him to a hospital in Albuquerque, the paper said.
In 2007, having graduated from high school, East was indicted on "15 counts, including four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of second-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor, six counts of third-degree criminal sexual contact and one count of false imprisonment."
April 2007 - Details on East's Alleged Rape
Prosecutor Aaron Jordon told jurors in opening Monday that East raped the girl after using a dresser to barricade the door to his bedroom and there was nothing consensual about the sex, News 13 reported.
"She didn't consent to any of this," Jordon said. "She told the defendant no over and over and over again," Channel 13 reported.
But the 4-foot-11 girl was no match for the 6-foot-4 athlete, who weighed 230 pounds, Jordon told jurors.
But according to East's defense attorney Jane Rocha de Gandara, the sex was consensual, and that the churchgoing girl made up the rape story in order not to disappoint her family, Rocha de Gandara told the jury, News 13 reported.
Police say the girl claimed East raped her several times over several hours that night and prevented her from leaving, according to News 13.
East was eventually acquitted of the rape charges, although he would soon find himself in trouble yet again just a few months later after a massive fight broke out at a party hosted at his home.
July 2007 - East Arrested on Charges of Aggravated Assault and Child Abuse
Witnesses told deputies that East became angry at some of the girls, went into a rage and began breaking doors and windows, News 13 reported.
He then allegedly hip-tossed some of the 14- to 15-year-old girls, breaking some of their noses and possibly the arm of one of the girls, and allegedly kicked his mother and attacked his father, KRQE said.
"We understand he kicked his father twice and stomped him in the head," Valencia County sheriff's Detective Aaron Jones told News 13. "While his dad was down begging for mercy, he evidently stomped him."
East was holding a knife when deputies arrived, but eventually surrendered without doing any further injury, later telling deputies he had wanted them to kill him, according to the KRQE report.
Officers had to draw their weapons in order to subdue East, who does cage fighting, and Valencia County sheriff's Detective Aaron Jones told KOB-TV that East told deputies he wanted them to shoot and kill him.
East was wheeled away from the home handcuffed to a gurney and has been placed on mental-health observation at the Valencia County jail, according to Eyewitness News 4.
Jones told KOB-TV that one of the girls allegedly attacked by East may have suffered a broken arm, while other girls had broken noses, and East himself may have broken his hand in three places.
Cody's parents, were also charged with buying and serving alcohol to minors, as well as "child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor." They received probation sentences, with his mother pleading no-contest to the alcohol charges and having the child abuse charges dismissed. Cody was jailed for the remainder of the year.
While on bail and awaiting trial, he was unanimously approved for a license by the New Mexico Athletic Commission to compete in amateur MMA in April 2008. He would make his pro debut just one month later.
A mistrial was declared in July 2008, as the jury deadlocked on aggravated battery with bodily harm, as well as not guilty on charges of aggravated battery against a household member, and one count of battery.
East was, however, found guilty of three counts of third-degree child abuse, plus a misdemeanor battery. Those child abuse charges carried a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. In November 2008, the jury acquitted East of the battery charge that caused the mistrial in July. As if that wasn't enough, East was convicted of misdemeanor battery for breaking the ankle of a 17-year-old boy in a different party in May 2007.
At the end of 2008, East was handed his sentence by District Judge John Pope, at which time he admitted to having a serious alcohol problem.
December 2008 - East Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison
After apologizing to the court and to the people he's hurt and admitting that he's had an alcohol problem for years, Cody East was sentenced this week to three years in prison on charges of child abuse and battery. East, a former state champion high school wrestler, was found guilty this summer of three counts of third-degree felony child abuse counts and one count of misdemeanor battery. The charges stem from an underage drinking party at his parent's home in July 2007. Several teenage girls at the party reported that East hurt them after becoming enraged.
East, 20, was also found guilty of another count of misdemeanor battery a few months later in a separate case in which he allegedly beat up a former friend at a drinking party at Tomé Hill.
District Judge John Pope sentenced East to nine years in prison, but suspended all but three. East has already served more than eight months in jail, which will be counted toward his sentence.
East was placed on probation and parole supervision in January 2010, but was quickly back in jail. He was arrested in August 2010 for violating his probation and parole violations, which included assaulting a household member, and criminal damage to property of a household member.
New Mexico court records indicate that East pleaded not guilty to both charges, and the state did not proceed with prosecution. East returned to jail until December 2010, when he was released under supervision.
In 2012, Cody returned to jail for three days after violating his probation when
"Probation and parole officers conducting a home visit at East's address last Saturday discovered that East was not residing where he claimed to be."
His brother, Tyler East, hasn't faired too well with the legal system. He pleaded no contest to an aggravated battery charge after he beat a fellow High School student in gym class.
He tested positive for cocaine in 2011.
He also violated his probation by using a fake ID. Throw in a couple of harassment charges by girlfriends to round out the list. A protective order was issued for one of his ex-girlfriends.
In 2012, Tyler was arrested on domestic violence charges for knocking out his ex-girlfrind by punching her in the jaw.
I'm pretty sure someone should look into what's in the water at the East family home, because clearly there's something going on with that family.
The UFC has failed to comment on the controversial signing.