LAS VEGAS – It rarely happens, but every now and then, internet trolls will be confronted in real life.
That was the case for Ben, who decided to challenge Jewish UFC fighter Natan Levy. The challenge arose after Levy (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) took issue with some antisemitic comments Ben was defending on X (formerly Twitter), and it resulted in Ben picking a fight with the UFC lightweight.
“There was just some back and forth on Twitter,” Levy told reporters during a media scrum at the UFC Apex. “We’ve seen a new rise in antisemitism – online and in real life. Just this past weekend, there were four kosher restaurants in L.A. whose windows got broken. So people allow themselves to speak in a very hateful manner online, and they think words have no consequences, but they do. I turned to violence in real life. So when a troll said he’s going to come to my gym and ‘F’ me up, I accepted the challenge.”
To Levy’s surprise, Ben actually showed up to his Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas to spar, and that’s where it all went down. Levy recorded the whole ordeal and posted it to YouTube, drawing over 200,000 views and counting. It was quite the scene.
As expected, Levy gave Ben a bad beating and had him re-thinking some of his views.
“Anybody who trains knows you’re more likely to get hurt from somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing, so it’s definitely dangerous,” Levy recalled. “I had no idea who was going to show up. It could’ve been (Francis) Ngannou showing up. But still, if you come into my gym and disrespect my culture, heritage and my religion, then I will fight you no matter what size you are or how strong you are.”
Levy is obviously not some kind of Jewish superhero fighting antisemitism, but he’s glad he took the time to make an example of Ben. If anyone in the future is planning on showing up to fight about his religious beliefs, he’s more than happy to facilitate it.
“Obviously, I’m not going to go around and beat anybody up who talks online,” Levy said. “I don’t have time to do this. I don’t have the will to do this, but if you show up to my gym and challenge me, you’re going to get it.”
Levy returns to sanctioned action at Noche UFC to face Alex Reyes. The lightweight bout takes place Sept. 16 at T-Mobile arena.