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Who is Lee Murray, the former MMA fighter UFC is making a documentary on?

Lee Murray (left); Anderson Silva (right)
Lee Murray (left); Anderson Silva (right)
Johny Payne
SENIOR ANALYST

Lee Murray is a convicted criminal and MMA fighter who is one of the key figures in the Securitas Depot bank heist that took place in Kent, England, in 2006.

Many believe that Lee Murray was the mastermind of the infamous heist. The UFC is now making a documentary on Murray, an MMA veteran and one-time UFC competitor.

Today, we take a closer look at the man known as 'Lightning' – a terrifying puncher with an iron chin.

Born on November 12, 1977, to an English mother and a Moroccan father, Lee Brahim Murray-Lamrani competed in one UFC fight in his MMA career. Murray was once regarded as one of the UK’s best MMA fighters.

Although Lee Murray had his MMA career cut short due to a stabbing incident that almost killed him, he gained global notoriety due to his involvement in one of the biggest bank heists in history – The Securitas Depot robbery.

Lee Murray had been involved in street fights and criminal activities from a young age. Drug-dealing, road rage incidents, pub brawls and other activities never fazed the man. He eventually chose to channel his fighting skills constructively and become a sportsperson.



Lee Murray and the Securitas Depot Robbery

On February 21st, 2006, Lee Murray and his crew kidnapped Colin Dixon, the manager of the Securitas Depot. Murray’s gang later kidnapped Dixon’s wife and son as well.

With his family held hostage, Colin Dixon had no choice but to cooperate. They took Dixon to the Securitas Depot in Tonbridge, Kent, England. Dixon provided them entry into the Depot that night. The gang – sporting ski masks and armed with firearms – then held the night shift staff members hostage and proceeded to loot £53 million from the bank.

The heist started in the evening of February 21st and ended in the early hours of February 22nd. The hostages were left unharmed but bound inside the Depot’s money cages.

The Securitas Depot robbery is considered to be one of the biggest heists of all time. Interpol went into action and suspected Lee Murray’s involvement in the heist. Moreover, the criminals’ haste in disposing of evidence, their spending habits, and bragging about pulling off the heist all contributed to getting the police on their trail.

Upon seeing that his fellow gang members were being apprehended by the police one after another, Lee Murray escaped from the UK and ended up living in Morocco. Murray had Moroccan nationality due to his father being Moroccan.

It’s believed that he escaped to Morocco because the country didn’t have an extradition treaty with the UK. That said, due to the magnitude of the heist, Murray was arrested, prosecuted for his crimes, and was imprisoned in Morocco rather than the UK.

The arrest came on June 25th, 2006, when the Kent police and local Moroccan police arrested Lee Murray and a few of his accomplices in the Moroccan capital Rabat. Murray was initially sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. He later tried to escape from prison but his attempt was foiled.

This failed attempt backfired and his sentence was increased. Lee Murray is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in Morocco.


Lee Murray’s professional MMA record stands at 8-2-1-1

Lee Murray holds a professional MMA record of 8 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw and 1 NC (No Contest). ‘Lightning’ competed in the sport of professional mixed martial arts for about five years. His first fight took place in May 1999 and his final fight transpired in September 2004.

Over the course of his MMA career, Lee Murray largely competed on the European circuit. He did make it to the UFC, however, competing in one fight inside the octagon. Murray’s lone UFC fight was a first-round submission win over Jorge Rivera at UFC 46 in January 2004.

Following this, Lee Murray competed against Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva. The Spider eventually went on to become a UFC legend, which, in turn, makes Murray’s gritty performance against him in their fight all the more impressive.

The Lee Murray vs. Anderson Silva matchup took place at Cage Rage 8 in September 2004. It witnessed Silva defeat Murray via unanimous decision to win the vacant Cage Rage middleweight title.

A fighter to the core, Lee Murray was no stranger to street fights either. For instance: Murray’s infamous 2002 street brawl involving UFC fighters like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz comes to mind, wherein Murray allegedly knocked Ortiz out cold. This came at a time when Ortiz was widely regarded as one of the best MMA fighters in the world.

Such was the KO power and striking prowess of Lee Murray. Unfortunately, after his fight against Silva, Murray was involved in a street brawl at the birthday party of Lauren Pope, a British model. The brawl saw Murray get stabbed and suffer a punctured lung and a severed artery.

The stabbing incident, which took place on September 28th, 2005, resulted in Lee Murray being legally dead more than once. Murray was resuscitated by doctors four times while being operated upon for his injuries.

Lee Murray ended up surviving the incident. Nevertheless, the injuries he sustained resulted in his promising MMA career being cut short. This is believed to be a key factor that contributed to Murray eventually turning back to a life of crime and becoming one of the most prominent figures in the Securitas Depot robbery.

Edited by Anirudh Balasubramaniam
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