An Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter has been placed on administrative leave from his job at a Minnesota high school after he insulted President Obama’s intelligence and challenged the commander in chief to a fight.
Jacob Volkmann told Fox News Radio that he is under investigation by White Bear Lake High School, where he has worked as a part-time assistant wrestling coach for three years.
“They didn’t like how I was representing the school,” he said. “They said I was representing them bad because of what I said about the president and his policies.”
Marisa Vette, the school district’s director of communications, confirmed to Fox News Radio that Volkmann is on paid leave. She refused to say if his comments about President Obama sparked the investigation.
“We have an employee who is on leave and the district is investigating in accordance with the law,” Vette said. She declined to elaborate on the investigation or any complaints that were made against Volkmann.
Volkmann’s comments came during a New Year’s Day interview after he had won a fight. A reporter asked who Volkmann would like to fight next and he replied, “Obama.”
“He’s not too bright,” Volkmann told MMA Fighting. “Someone’s got to knock some sense into that idiot.”
The comment prompted a visit by the U.S. Secret Service after they received several calls accusing the fighter of threatening the president. However, Volkmann said the comments were tongue-in-cheek.
In addition to being a UFC fighter and assistant wrestling coach, Volkmann is a chiropractor and he said his comments were about the president’s health care reform policies.
In a later interview, he backed off the “idiot comment,” telling The MMA Hour, “The only regret I have is calling him an idiot. I don’t think he’s an idiot, but I do think he’s making a lot of mistakes.”
Volkmann was not arrested and he was not charged, but on Monday he was told to report to the school district’s human resources department. After a half-hour interview, he said he was put on paid administrative leave. Volkmann said several parents had called to complain that he was wearing a school shirt and a hat during one of his interviews.
“It’s a little irritating to be honest,” he said. “I think it’s kind of ridiculous that the school is pretty much saying you can’t voice your opinion and if you do voice your opinion you definitely can’t voice it against the policies of the president.”
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