SAFFORD, Ariz. — Police are recommending charges for a father and son involved in a brawl at a high school sectional wrestling tournament in Safford in February.
Canyon Del Oro high school wrestler Michael Buda Jr., 18, faces charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution after he tackled the opposing team’s coach, according to police.
His father, Michael Buda Sr., faces charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution after police say he came down from the stands into the mat area “in an aggressive manner” during the commotion.
According to the police report, the younger Buda was penalized during a match with a Salpointe wrestler for elbowing his opponent in the face.
Witnesses said the referee disqualified Buda after he hit his opponent in the throat as they stood up.
When the coach shook hands with Buda afterward, he allegedly said, “You’re better than that,” to which Buda was heard responding, “F*** you.”
The Salpointe coach told police he approached the Canyon Del Oro coaches to ask them what they were going to do about Buda’s behavior.
At this point, witnesses say Michael Buda Sr. was leaning over the rope barrier cussing and screaming.
As the coach was looking toward the father, Buda Jr. is seen on the surveillance video tackling him to the floor.
Then Buda’s father is seen running onto the mat. Witnesses told police Safford coaching staff had to restrain him.
Buda’s younger brother was also seen on the video trying to enter the melee, but the referee pushed him backward. He was then restrained by an unknown person, who gets him to walk back into the bleachers, the police report says.
The coach who was attacked said he was familiar with Buda before the incident. He told police Buda previously bit the finger of a different wrestler from Salpointe during a match.