Published March 13, 2009
CLEARWATER, Fla. – An attorney for Hulk Hogan's wife got into a verbal sparring match with the former professional wrestler outside a courtroom and asked if Hogan was going to wrestle him.
The spat started when lawyer Ray Rafool was answering questions about the divorce case for television cameras. He spoke after a hearing Thursday in which a judge granted the release of $225,000 in frozen assets for Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea.
While Rafool spoke to the media, the towering Hogan tried to interject a comment from behind a row of cameras and reporters.
"Are you gonna to wrestle with me here?" Rafool said loudly. "Are you gonna come across the cameras? Then be quiet."
"It's a free world," Hogan replied.
"No, it's not a free world," Rafool said. "It's called professionalism."
The attorney, who had recently accepted an autograph from Hogan for his son, then delivered a stinging blow to any World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler: "You're an actor. You're acting now."
"I hope your son enjoys the autograph," Hogan said. "Thank you Hulkamaniac brother."
Hogan's attorney joined in and continued arguing with Rafool. The former wrestler, who was on crutches because of recent back surgery, left a few minutes later.
"I guess I get the feeling of what it's like to be on the WWE now," he said.
Rafool had cooled off when The Associated Press reached him by phone Friday.
"It got much more heated than I would have preferred," Rafool said. "Some of it was a little tongue-in-cheek about the wrestling. He was smiling and laughing. I was, too."
David Houston, Hogan's attorney, said his client spoke up because, "He felt that every dime they have was being dissipated by virtue of the divorce proceeding."
Houston said Hogan worries that when all is done, he won't be able to help John Graziano, a young man who was like family to the Hogans and was seriously injured in a crash caused by Hogan's son Nick Bollea. Nick Bollea was sentenced last year to eight months in county jail after he pleaded no contest to causing the crash.