When it comes to second chances, Charles Daniel Bennett Jr. will take four, five, six, and however many more he can get. Nicknamed Krazy Horse, the Ocala native has been one of the most scandalous characters to step into mixed martial arts fighting arenas. From dealing crack cocaine to using a piece of metal to assault a sparring partner, Bennett's rap sheet unspools like a pair of rolled-up handwraps. The guy is absolute trouble.
Bennett, sporting tight braids that zigzag across his head, sits on a stool inside the Action Fight League North Miami Beach gym where he is training for his upcoming June 4 battle against Miami favorite Luis "Baboon" Palomino for the International Sport Karate Association lightweight title. The fight is the headline match for Rock-N-Rumble 3 at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. The loquacious 160-pounder chalks up his run-ins with the law as an "ongoing learning experience."
"I have no regrets in life," he says. "People want to criticize me, but no one is perfect in this world."
Born in Gainesville on November 23, 1979, Bennett lived with his mother for the first eight years of his life. After she was arrested on a drug charge in 1985, Bennett moved in with his father in Ocala. "I never finished high school," he says. "I dropped out. Life was impossible. As time went on, I started dealing dope."
According to Marion County's criminal court database, Bennett was arrested for aggravated battery when he was 17 years old, but the case was dropped. In 1998, he was charged with coke possession. He got it dismissed. The same year, he was again arrested for coke possession, as well as selling it, grand theft, and holding less than 20 grams of pot. He received adjudication withheld on the four felony and one misdemeanor charge.
Between 1999 and 2009, he was arrested 14 times on crimes ranging from selling cocaine to burglary to aggravated battery on a pregnant victim to possession of MDMA. The battery charge on the pregnant woman was dropped in 2002. He was found guilty on a couple of drug charges in 2000 and 2001 and for an aggravated battery in 2008, which stemmed from another domestic dispute.
In between one of his jail stints in 1999, Bennett saw a newspaper ad for an MMA gym in Ocala. He signed up and began training. "My coaches couldn't believe how fast and strong I was. "I was fighting," Bennett recalls. "But I was still selling dope."
During his professional career, Bennett has recorded a 22-16-2 record. He has fought overseas in Japan for Pride and in Australia when he was with EliteXC. "I enjoyed my time over there," Bennett says. "The way I saw it, 'I'm black, I'm poor, and I'm taking a trip to Osaka and Tokyo.' I did pretty good."
Bennett has shown a penchant for creating controversy inside the cage just as well as he has outside it. During the 2005 Pride Shockwave show in Saitama, Japan, Bennett was involved in a backstage altercation with another fighter, Cristiano Marcello, who put Krazy Horse to sleep with a triangle choke.
This past January 16, Bennett was training at a gym in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, when he got into a fight with a teammate. According to a police incident report, tempers flared between Bennett and the other fighter, who dropped Krazy Horse. Bennett got dressed and left the building. He came back about 15 minutes later with a heavy piece of steel and attacked his sparring opponent from behind. Two other fighters had to tackle Bennett and disarm him. The 30-year-old ex-con was charged with aggravated battery by the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.
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Bennett angrily declines to discuss that incident. "I don't want to talk about New Mexico," he huffs. "I got nothing to say about it." Indeed.
Below is a mug-shot montage of Krazy Horse: