Paul Kelly, once a mainstay of UFC cards in the UK, has just been sentenced to 13 years in prison for running a giant heroin drug ring with his childhood friends that supplied most of the gear for local gangs in Liverpool:

Surveillance of McGirr, 28, and Kelly led to the arrest of one of their couriers who had £100,000 of import purity heroin under his car seat. That courier’s replacement, their schoolfriend Paul Rogers, 28, was later arrested moving heroin worth up to £10,000.

David McLoughlin, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court: “McGirr and Kelly were in the drugs supply business together. The Crown say they were not soft enough to get their hands dirty and sought out others to do the dirty work for them.”

Judge Mark Brown told dad-of-two Kelly, of Crantock Close, West Derby:  “You were in business with Mr McGirr supplying heroin to other dealers.

“You are an individual who has travelled widely in the course of MMA and as such would have contacts abroad. It is significant that the seizures involved large amounts of import quality heroin. In my judgement you decided to supply Class A drugs when your contract with UFC was terminated. You obviously enjoyed the high life and saw selling heroin as an easy way to make money.”

He jailed Kelly, who had a trial, for 13 years.

As cool as that ‘international contacts through MMA’ angle is, I dunno how accurate it is. His UFC career took Kelly to the US several times, Germany once, and Abu Dhabi once. And while I’m sure there are people in Abu Dhabi with sick heroin hookups, I’m thinking Paul was probably more concerned with his fight at the time. There was a trip to India for a single Super Fight League match, which again might seem suspicious if Paul’s manager wasn’t the dude hooking everyone up with SFL matches.

I dunno, it just seems creepy that a few matches abroad implies to a judge that you’re probably an international drug kingpin instead of your average homegrown variety. As if there’s no decent contacts for weed, coke, and heroin in England.