Ex-wrestler, GOP House candidate says he regrets past arrest

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former professional wrestler running in a Republican primary for a U.S. House seat says his arrest for battery was "unfortunate" and he regrets it.

Dan Rodimer, who was known as Dan Rodman when he was with World Wrestling Entertainment, says the battery charge stemming from a 2010 incident at a southwest Florida restaurant came when several men were teasing a friend of his and he intervened.

Court documents show the victim told police that Rodimer threw him to the ground after the former wrestler was asked to leave a group of women alone.

Court records from Collier County, Florida, show Rodimer entered a deferred prosecution program, where he pleaded guilty and completed a six-week anger management course before the charge was dropped.

The victim told police that Rodimer threatened him when he asked the former wrestler "to leave the girls at our table alone," according to sheriff's office records. The man and another witness said that Rodimer grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the floor.

The man said Rodimer was egging him into a fight and used an expletive, then left when others in Rodimer's group and Waffle House employees asked him to leave.

Rodimer said in an interview with Fox News last month that the incident occurred when a friend of his wore Rodimer's former wrestling outfit to the Waffle House and "three or four guys started picking on him, pushing him around." Rodimer says he walked over to stop it and shoved someone. "Just a shove, that was about it," Rodimer said. "But my shove's a big shove."

The campaign said in a statement Tuesday that, "Almost a decade ago Dan was involved in an unfortunate incident that he regrets happened and has never shied away from."

Rodimer last year unsuccessfully ran for a state Senate seat in Nevada. He is among several candidates running in a Republican primary for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, which is held by Democrat Susie Lee.

His campaign website describes him as a 6-foot-7 former pro-wrestler and entrepreneur who "is ready to get in the ring for us."

"I'm running for U.S. Congress to take a folding chair to the Washington, D.C., establishment and change the way government does business," Rodimer said in a campaign post on Twitter.

His primary opponents include former Nevada state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Dan Schwartz.

Democrats have a slight edge among registered voters in the district, which covers southwest Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City and extends to the borders with California and Arizona.