Man involved in fatal attack on MMA fighter Fau Vake sentenced

A man who admitted punching mixed martial arts fighter Lifau Tu’iha’aingana Vake, known as Fau Vake, and his brother in a fatal brawl has been sentenced to six months of home detention for each of two charges, to be served concurrently.

Fau and his brother Ika Vake were attacked by four other men in the early hours of May 16 on Symonds St in Auckland’s CBD.

Fau Vake died from his injuries at Auckland City Hospital nine days later.

Ofa Folau, 29, plead guilty to two representative charges of assault with intent to injure in June.

Folau was involved in the early stages of the brawl but is not responsible for Vake’s death, the court heard.

“The Crown doesn’t allege you are responsible but it is likely he received similar injuries from your assault,” said Justice Michael Robinson.

Folau struck Ika Vake in the head with his left hand using an enclosed fist, then took hold of him and struck him a second time in the head with his right hand, using an enclosed fist, the court heard.

He then ran towards Fau Vake, who was being held by another man, and struck him three times in the head with closed fist.

Fau Vake’s injuries included concussion, cuts, bruising and abrasions.

“It seems highly likely you contributed to these injuries,” Justice Robinson said.

Folau appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning in front of members of the public including UFC fighter Dan Hooker.

Alcohol abuse was the primary cause of Folau’s offending and he is actively seeking treatment, the court heard.

Justice Robinson said he accepts Folau’s genuine remorse but said “being drunk” is not an excuse.

Fau Vake was mourned by hundreds at his funeral at the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga Tuingapapai in Favona, South Auckland, and by the MMA community.

There was a huge outpouring of support from the City Kickboxing community, where Vake trained.

A man charged with manslaughter, who has name suppression, has pleaded not guilty.

Semisie Pomale and Siofillisi Paongo, charged with common assault, have also pleaded not guilty. Their interim name suppression lapsed last month.

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