Five for fighting!
A Tampa Bay Lightning fan, in the final minutes of his team’s embarrassing 7-1 loss to Florida on Monday, took matters into his own hands when he picked a fight with a Panthers mascot.
A viral video from the game captured an unidentified Lightning fan attacking Viktor E. Ratt, which has caused the Panthers to launch an investigation into the incident.
In the video, a man in a blue t-shirt grabbed and pulled Viktor E. Ratt’s jersey over its head after the mascot launched the fan’s jersey into the crowd.
The fan then proceeds to shove his furry opponent into a glass divider while an arena usher and another employee look on at the exchange.
After standing back up, the fan puts the mascot into a partial chokehold and seemingly begins to shout “Go Bolts.” One of the mascot’s handlers diffused the situation as the man picked up his tossed jersey and walked out of the seating bowl.
Some Twitter users speculated whether the fight was staged as Panthers and FLA Arena employees did nothing to break up the altercation and the lack of presence from Florida police and arena security.
Fox Sports South Florida’s Andy Slater reported — citing a Panthers spokesperson — that the exchange was not staged and the team is investigating the incident.
Slater also reported “The mascot’s normal handler was off” on Monday and Sunrise Police has not been contacted by the team.
Monday’s game was the first hockey event held at the arena since Saturday’s NHL All-Star Game.
Viktor E. Ratt is the Panthers’ second mascot, having been introduced to the team in October 2014, 21 years after the team’s inception and the introduction of their first mascot Stanley C. Panther.