A New Zealand wrestling star and mixed-martial arts fighter has added another inauspicious chapter to his chequered record.

Ricky David Welsford, 26, appeared in the Dunedin District Court this week on two charges of assaulting the same man - almost nine months apart.

He was sentenced to nine months' supervision - despite the Crown's protestations it would be an inadequate response - and ordered to pay the victim $500.

Welsford blitzed the competition at last year's Oceania Wrestling Championships in Tahiti, taking home the gold in the 57kg class and winning each of his contests in less than a minute.


He has seen similar success in the MMA ring; in 2015 remaining unbeaten through five bouts and winning the New Zealand Amateur International Sport Karate Association bantamweight title.

But the defendant has had several setbacks on his road to sporting success, including failed drugs test and drunken violence.

Welsford's most recent indiscretions began on November 18, 2016 when he was socialising with the victim.

There was a "heated" argument.

"You then assaulted him, running at him and punching him in the face," Judge John Macdonald said.

"He ran, you chased, he happened to slip, you caught up and punched him a further three times."

In August last year, the pair bumped into each other again at a party.

"Clearly you were harbouring some sort of resentment or animosity towards him because without any provocation at all, you punched him in the face," the judge said.


The victim fell backwards and hit his head on a cupboard, the court heard.

He suffered minor head injuries in both incidents.

Welsford's problems began in 2011 when he was suspended from all sport for three months after returning a positive test for synthetic cannabis while competing at the national wrestling championships.

Before the Sports Tribunal he admitted the violation and explained he had been celebrating a friend's birthday when a "roll your own" Kronic cigarette was passed around friends.

Welsford said he succumbed to peer pressure and it had not occurred to him at the time that it might contain a prohibited substance or would affect his wrestling career.

A year later though, he was in trouble again, this time making his first appearance in court.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with intent to injure after performing a "dump truck" move on a stranger he met outside public toilets in Queens Gardens.

The victim returned from the toilets to find Welsford leaning on the back of his vehicle.

When he asked him to move, the wrestler approached him lifted him up, inverted him and dropped him, resulting in him falling head first on to the asphalt.

The man was hospitalised with concussion and various abrasions and Welsford was later sentenced to five months' community detention and nine months' supervision.

Defence counsel Andrew Dawson told the court this week his client was "insightful and remorseful" and endorsed the view of Probation there was a low risk of reoffending.

No holds barred


Banned from sport for three months after synthetic cannabis detected in drug test during national wrestling championships.

2012: Performs a ``dump truck'' manoeuvre, dropping a stranger on his head in Queens Gardens. Sentenced to community detention and supervision.

2015: Becomes national bantamweight MMA champion, taking his unbeaten streak to five fights.

2017: Dominates at Oceania Wrestling Championships in Tahiti, winning gold medal.

2018: Sentenced to nine months' supervision after assaulting the same man in two alcohol-fuelled incidents.