Remember “Mola Ram,” the villain in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? He was the one who tore a man’s beating heart of out his body. Well, once again real life has trumped fiction, and someone has (allegedly) actually done it. Mixed Martial Arts cage fighter, Jarrod Wyatt, 27, has been charged in Del Norte County, CA, with the murder and torture of his friend and sparring partner, Taylor Powell, 21. The bros were tripping on hallucinogenic mushroom tea when Wyatt came to believe that a catastrophic tidal wave was coming, and he had to battle Satan in a good versus evil smackdown. Unfortunately for Taylor, he became the living embodiment of Satan in Wyatt’s mind, so to vanquish the demon king, Wyatt tore out Taylor’s heart while he was still alive, cut out his tongue, and ripped off portions of his face.

This is a tragedy–no two ways about it–and as outlandish and horrific as this killing is, it’s nothing to make light of. But what I find interesting about this story is the snowballing coverage of the event. When I first learned of it over a year ago, I was sure the Internet loudmouths would have a field day pillorying MMA for sanctioning ultra-violent, blood-thirty mutants who are just dying to do stuff like this. I read a few finger-wagging pieces along those lines, but surprisingly not that many. Equally surprising, almost no one blamed the young men’s drug use. Instead–and this blows my mind–the coverage has turned to zombies. Wyatt’s case has been aggregated with recent crime stories about flesh eaters–most notably a homeless guy in Florida who was caught chewing off his buddy’s face–as clear evidence of the coming Zombie Apocalypse! (Cue: scary music.)

OK, I am now speechless. Zombies? Really? I guess I should just be grateful they’re leaving the martial arts alone.

But I’m wondering how the prosecution will portray Wyatt when his case goes to trial. Will he be called a violent cage fighter? A violent drug user? Both? And will Wyatt’s attorney try to present a zombie defense? I’m assuming even in the far reaches of northern California, a judge won’t let that pass. But who knows? We are talking the Golden State. Stay tuned. Wyatt’s trial is scheduled to begin in September.

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