The “Free Cain” movement has grown across multiple social media and online platforms, but GoFundMe is no longer among them.
It’s unclear when the campaigns were created or how long they were up on GoFundMe, but they were shared by Velasquez’s long-time coach, Javier Mendez of American Kickboxing Academy, on March 5.
“We can confirm that both fundraisers were removed, and all donors have been refunded,” a GoFundMe spokesperson told MMA Junkie. “GoFundMe prohibits raising money for the legal defense of a violent crime.”
The same policy has been applied to past high-profile defense cases. In 2015, GoFundMe removed a campaign for police officers involved in the trials after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. In 2020, it shut down campaigns for Kenosha, Wisc. shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. After Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts of homicide, campaigns supporting him were reallowed.
While fundraising efforts on the most popular and prominent crowdfunding platform are no more, the support still holds strong in San Jose, Calif., and across the MMA community worldwide. The website FreeCainGear.com remains online, with an advertised T-shirt sale set to take place Wednesday in Gilroy, Calif. “All profits go to help Cain’s defense fund and to help his family,” a banner on the side of the homepage reads.
A large group of vocal supporters have showed up at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice for both of Velasquez’s court appearances. During his original date March 2, notable fighters, including former UFC contender Josh Thomson, former Bellator fighter Shawn Bunch, former UFC fighter Andrew Sanchez, and current Bellator fighter Romero Cotton, were spotted in a large group outside.
During Velasquez’s arraignment Monday, in which he was denied bail, supporters lined the courtroom – and were even given a warning at one point by Judge Shelyna Brown following an outburst. A second group stood outside the courthouse with “Free Cain” printed on their clothing and carrying signs.
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Velasquez, 39, was arrested Feb. 28 and charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting a man while targeting another man, 43-year-old Harry Goularte, accused of molesting a family member possibly “100 times.” Velasquez allegedly pursued their truck and rammed his own truck into the side of their before firing several shots, one of which struck Goularte’s stepfather in the arm.
In addition to one count of attempted murder, Velasquez also faces charges of shooting at a motor vehicle or aircraft (one count), assault with a firearm (three counts), assault with a deadly weapon (three counts), willfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle (one count), and carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony (one count).
If found guilty of attempted murder, Velasquez faces a minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison. He faces additional time if found guilty of other counts.
Photos: Cain Velasquez through the years
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