GOP Senator Markwayne Mullin stood up in an apparent attempt to physically fight Teamsters president Sean O’Brien in a Senate HELP committee hearing on Tuesday. Mullin, who represents Oklahoma, is a former regional-level MMA fighter who previously challenged O’Brien to a fight in June after O’Brien called him a “clown & fraud” in a post on X.
The altercation came around an hour and a half into a hearing for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which had convened U.S. labor leaders to discuss “standing up against corporate greed” and “how unions are improving the lives of working families.”
After talking about union dues, Mullin, who is the founder and CEO of a plumbing company, said that he wanted to “talk about Mr. O’Brien himself.”
“As everybody knows who was here the last time, him and I kind of had a back-and-forth,” Mullin said, while O’Brien is heard laughing. The last time O’Brien testified before the Senate HELP Committee and spoke with Mullin, the interaction culminated in a viral video in which Mullin told O’Brien to “shut your mouth,’” and O’Brien said he was “not afraid of physical [confrontation].”
“I appreciate your demeanor today, it’s quite different,” Mullin said. “But after you left here, you got pretty excited about the keyboard.”
Mullin read aloud a post on X, formerly Twitter, that O’Brien had made about him in June.
“Greedy CEO who pretends like he’s self made,” Mullin begins, quoting the post. “Sir, I wish you were in the truck with me when I was building my plumbing company myself, and my wife was running the office, because I sure remember working pretty hard, and long hours. ‘Pretends like he’s self made. What a clown. Fraud. Always has been, always will be.’”
At the time of the post, Mullin had responded on X and accepted O’Brien’s challenge. He proposed an “MMA fight for the charity of our [sic] choice.” Mullin’s Senate profile states he is a former undefeated MMA fighter with five wins and zero losses. The Sherdog Fight Finder, the closest thing there is to an authoritative record in the sport, credits him with a 3-0 record run up on lower-level events.
Mullin continued to read the post, which ends with, “You know where to find me. Anyplace, anytime cowboy.” Mullin then paused, and pointed to the Senate committee room floor.
“Sir, this is a time, this is a place,” Mullin said. “You want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults, we can finish it here.”
“Okay, that’s fine. Perfect,” responded O’Brien, who was testifying on a panel of other labor leaders.
“You want to do it now?” Mullin asked once more. When O’Brien responded that he “would love to do it right now,” Mullin told him to “stand your butt up then.”
“You stand your butt up, big guy,” O’Brien said. Mullin then stood out of his chair and began to take off his ring, at which point Senator Bernie Sanders, the chair of the HELP Committee who was sitting next to Mullin, yelled out, “Oh hold it—oh, stop it. Sit down.” He pointed to Mullin’s chair and told him to sit down once more.
When Mullin contested, amidst more yelling from the room, Sanders banged his gavel and said, “No, you’re a United States Senator. Sit down. Sit down, please.”
Mullin sat, but continued to contest that “this is what [O’Brien] said.” Sanders held up a finger and said, “No, I have the mic. Hold it! You’ll have your time.” When O’Brien asked to respond, Sanders said, “No, you can’t. This is a hearing. God knows the American people have enough contempt for Congress, let’s not make it worse.”
“I don’t like thugs and bullies,” Mullin interrupted Sanders. The exchanges between Mullin and O’Brien persisted for the next seven minutes. O’Brien asked later, “You want to fight me?” When Mullin asked what he meant by “anytime, anyplace”, O’Brien said he had intended it as a suggestion to “have coffee, discuss our differences.” After more interruptions between the two, in which O’Brien called Mullin an “embarrassment to the state of Oklahoma,” Sanders recognized another committee member, who promptly told Mullin to yield his time.
The post CEO Senator Tries to Physically Fight Teamsters President Over Tweet In Wild Hearing appeared first on VICE.