Skip to main content Accessibility

Mixed Martial Arts Fighter in Montana Has Ties to the Far Right

A mixed martial arts fighter in Missoula, Montana, who appears to have three neo-Nazi tattoos on his chest and possible ties to a racist hate group, is sponsored by a far-right podcasting network whose co-founders were sentenced to prison for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, a Hatewatch investigation revealed.

The sport plays a prominent role in the recruitment and activities of many white power hate groups.

Polk on BKFC website
A photo of Sam Polk found on his bio page on BKFC’s website.

Sam Polk, who uses the moniker “Blunt Force Trauma,” has won three consecutive fights since returning from an 11-year absence in April 2023, including a victory in a Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) event earlier last month. He appears to have entered these fighting competitions with a large sonnenrad tattoo on each side of his chest. The Nazi party in Germany co-opted the sonnenrad, or Black Sun, from Old Norse and Celtic cultures. Today, adherents of the white power movement use the sonnenrad to signal their beliefs in public with a symbol less viscerally recognizable than a swastika. Underneath one of Polk’s sonnenrad tattoos is another tattoo of a skull wearing a helmet German Nazi soldiers used in World War II. The investigation into Polk’s ties also uncovered a 2019 Facebook profile picture overlayed with the text “Asatru, followers of the old ways.” While “Asatru” is a term that can be used outside the white power movement, inside the movement it often refers to the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA), which is a form of white supremacist spirituality based on Old Norse and Germanic traditions. Members of the AFA, a neo-Volkisch hate group, often use the sonnenrad as a symbol of their faith.

The far-right podcasting network MurderTheMedia claimed in posts on Telegram to be Polk’s sponsor at the March 2 BKFC event outside Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Co-founded by a group of far-right podcasters, including Proud Boys leaders Nicholas Ochs and Nicholas DeCarlo, MurderTheMedia circulates content on Telegram that includes generalized bigotry about Black people, Jews, migrants, LGBTQ+ communities, women and Muslims. The network’s content is often shared by more extreme sections of the far right, including neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups. Ochs and DeCarlo pleaded guilty in September 2022 to breaching the U.S. Capitol building and obstructing official proceedings during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. They were sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release in December 2022, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia, press release.

At the BKFC event, Polk walked into the fighting cage wearing a MurderTheMedia branded hat, which he also wore during an interview before his match. Through his rising profile as an athlete, Polk provides MurderTheMedia the potential to reach a larger audience and sell more apparel. In a March 7 post to Telegram advertising their merchandise, an administrator of MurderTheMedia refers to the hat in the picture, writing, “The one on the left is the exact same one Sam Polk wore walking out.”

Hatewatch attempted to contact Polk repeatedly for comment on the findings of this investigation, but he could not be reached. Hatewatch called phone numbers associated with Polk, sent emails, reached out via Facebook direct message, and sent a certified letter with detailed questions about the investigation, but he did not respond.

‘Blunt Force Trauma’

Polk photo posted to Telegram
A still image from a video posted to MurderTheMedia’s Telegram page March 3 amplifying Polk’s BKFC fight, overlayed with text and a sonnenrad at the end.

After an 11-year absence, Polk reappeared at local MMA competitions April 29, 2023, at the Butte Civic Center in Butte, Montana. Polk reportedly won 17 seconds into the first round with a body kick and ground punches. Polk’s next fight occurred Sept. 22, 2023, at the Adams Center in Missoula, Montana. According to a website that tracks MMA events, Polk won in the second round after his opponent tapped the mat to concede.

Hatewatch spoke over the phone with the promoters of the two events in Montana, both of whom were unaware of Polk’s association with MurderTheMedia and possible ties to AFA. One promoter denounced neo-Nazis attempting to infiltrate the sport, and the other promoter declined to comment on-the-record, telling Hatewatch not to name him or his organization in our reporting.

In his third fight, Polk debuted in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) on March 2 at a casino in Enoch, Alberta, Canada. The BKFC offers Polk a national audience and a higher stature as a professional fighter. Fighters from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the most prominent MMA league in the U.S., have participated in BKFC events.

Reached by phone, president and founder of BKFC David Feldman said, “We were not aware of Polk’s sponsor or [alleged] ties to these groups. Him or any other fighter who fights for organizations who support white supremacist beliefs are not welcome and will not fight in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.”

‘Reppin his sponsor’

Polk photo posted to Facebook
A photo of Polk posted to his Facebook page June 21, 2019, that appears to support the Asatru Folk Assembly.

Groups across the far right have been using mixed martial arts to promote their racist ideologies to larger audiences for years. Previous Hatewatch reporting identified a private gym in Nashville, Tennessee, that its previous owner used to host neo-Nazi and white nationalist fight clubs – one of which uses the sonnenrad as part of its logo. A Vice investigation revealed the activities of white nationalist fight clubs in the U.S., Europe and Australia that host their own fighting events. Calling themselves Active Clubs, these groups use MMA as part of their strategy to build a brand around a supposed warrior’s ethos, brotherhood and a stereotypical view of Western masculinity. Active Clubs organize large fighting events and invite other neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups to participate. Media2Rise is a white nationalist hate group that works closely with Active Clubs to produce propaganda videos to promote the movement. Active Clubs also have their own line of apparel to promote their brand.

Murder the Media was cofounded in February 2020 by five far-right podcasters, including Nicholas Ochs, then chairman of the Hawaii Proud Boys. The podcast network produces livestreamed podcasts on alt-tech platforms DLive and Rumble and uses Telegram to reach and grow their audience. The network’s content ranges from conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the ‘deep state’ to veiled antisemitism and explicit use of racial slurs. According to a Department of Justice press release, cofounders Ochs and DeCarlo threw smoke bombs at police and broke into the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. Once inside, the pair filmed themselves smoking cigarettes and posed for a picture after DeCarlo wrote “Murder the Media” on a door, according to the press release.

MurderTheMedia first noted its sponsorship of Polk in a post on Telegram Feb. 23, 2023. Six days later, the far-right media brand posted a picture to Telegram of Polk in an airport wearing a MurderTheMedia hat. On the day of the BKFC fight on March 2, MurderTheMedia appears to have posted a still image to Telegram of an interview Polk gave before the fight with the caption “Sam Polk reppin his sponsor.” The next day, MurderTheMedia shared a video of Polk’s match and edited the end to include a sonnenrad and text that stated, “Support your folk in whatever they excel at.”

Since announcing their sponsorship, MurderTheMedia has interspersed favorable posts about Polk on Telegram with a slew of bigoted material, including a video comparing LGBTQ communities to animals, racist imagery that stereotypically represents Black men by exaggerating their lips, mouth and nose, and a post that mocked “leaders in law enforcement” for being Black.

In response to a March 2 post on Telegram about Polk, commenters in MurderTheMedia’s chat explain that they believe Polk’s tattoos identify him as a neo-Nazi. One user asks, “Any of you guys know what makes him our guy? Just curious.” One minute later, the same user answers their own question, writing “Oooooooh I see now lol sonnenrad and death heads.” An apparent administrator of the MurderTheMedia chat on Telegram chimes in 20 minutes later, writing, “His entire head is tattooed in Norse knotwork.”

Polk’s skull tattoos are not precisely death’s heads, the skull and crossbones image that decorated the uniforms of Nazi SS units that operated extermination camps, though they look similar, and one features a German military helmet. Norse knotwork refers to an art form that includes complex interwoven designs that often depict animals, mythical creatures and geometric shapes – some of which have been co-opted by white power groups.

In a post to Telegram two hour later, MurderTheMedia shared a video of Polk’s previous fight in Butte with the caption, “Sam Polk knocks out a Mexican in a matter of seconds.” Polk’s opponent that night was from Montana, according to data brokers. One commenter responded to the post, writing “White Power Knock Hour only here on MTM.” MTM refers to MurderTheMedia.

MurderTheMedia shared a video on their Telegram channel March 2 after the fight with the caption “a word from OUR GUY!!! Post VICTORY!!!!” In the video, which was viewed by well-known neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups, Polk said: “Thank you guys for all your support, let’s go Blunt Force Trauma. Montana in the house baby.”

One supporter responded to the video shortly after it was posted, writing, “HH. Hail Victory.” “HH” is used in the far right as shorthand for “Heil Hitler.” Another user responded to Polk’s video the next day and claimed Polk was a member of AFA. The commenter, referring to Polk and AFA, added: “I’m sure they would be happy to have him back. They have some good people up his way.”

Photo illustration by SPLC

Comments or suggestions? Send them to Have tips about the far right? Please email: Have documents you want to share? Please visit: Follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.