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Subject: Rufus Hannah, star of the BumFights videos popular in the early 2000's dies in car wreck at 63

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Date Posted: Saturday, October 07, 02:22:08pm

A man who formerly lived on the streets of an east San Diego suburb and was paid to fight with other homeless men in the notorious “BumFights” video of the early-2000s has died.

Rufus Hannah, 63, was killed Wednesday in a head-on car crash with a Freightliner 18-wheeler in his hometown of Swainsboro, Georgia, according to Barry M. Soper, a Rancho Santa Fe real estate investor and philanthropist who befriended Hannah and, at one point, post-"BumFights," employed him.

A Georgia State Patrol official told NBC 7 the deadly crash happened at 3:40 p.m. on State Route 4 at State Route 26, and remains under investigation.

“What a beautiful soul he was. He went through so much, then turned his life completely around,” Soper said. “I helped him stop drinking and he was sober for the past 13 years.”

Soper said Hannah was a passenger in his sister's car at the time of the collision. Hannah's sister remains hospitalized in Georgia with serious injuries.
Hannah was one of three homeless men involved in “BumFights: A Cause for Concern,” an infamous 2002 video shot on the backstreets of La Mesa in San Diego’s East County.

Hannah – known on-screen as “Rufus the Stunt Bum” – was paid around $10 to partake in staged and filmed fights that sometimes included dangerous stunts such as running head-first into walls, crates, and doors. Often, the homeless men featured in “BumFights” – including Hannah and Donnie Brennan – were fueled by alcohol, another payout for their participation. Hannah and the “fighters” suffered bodily injuries such as broken bones and cuts.

“BumFights” was produced by La Mesa-area high school student Ryan McPherson and fellow filmmakers Daniel Tanner, Zack Bubeck and Michael J. Slyman under the Indecline Films label. The video quickly rose to notoriety, with the filmmakers selling more than 300,000 copies online and making millions of dollars.

The four filmmakers were arrested and charged with making “BumFights.” In 2003, they were placed on probation and sentenced to perform community service at a homeless shelter. Two years later, McPherson and one other defendant were sentenced to 180 days in jail for failing to perform that community service.

McPherson and Tanner ran into bizarre legal trouble again in November 2014 when they allegedly tried to ship preserved human parts from Thailand to Las Vegas.

Bangkok police confiscated three packages labeled “toys” from the men that contained an infant’s head, a baby’s foot, and an adult heart. McPherson and Tanner – then 31 and 33 years old, respectively – were ultimately released. The duo said they had planned to send the odd items to friends.

As for Hannah, he spent the last 15 years cleaning up his life, getting sober and getting himself off the streets.
His story – co-written by Soper – was chronicled in the book, “A Bum Deal: An Unlikely Journey from Hopeless to Humanitarian."

Soper said the book is reportedly the basis for a movie that's has been in pre-production for about four years.
Soper first met Hannah in the early 2000s when he noticed him sifting through a dumpster inside a La Mesa apartment complex owned by Soper. In their first exchange, Soper learned of Hannah’s life as “Rufus the Stunt Bum,” and about his involvement in “BumFights.”

With Soper’s support, Hannah eventually turned his life around.

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Subject Author Date
LinkRussSaturday, October 07, 02:23:01pm

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