Before he was a celebrity, a WWE United States champion, and an action figure, Hassan “MVP” Assad was a prisoner. More than 30 years after he committed his crime and 20 years since release, he still finds himself constantly “repaying his debt to society.” In this remarkable talk, Assad asks the important question: when will society decide a person is no longer in need of punishment? When will he stop being a criminal? Best known as a champion with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), he is a Social Media powerhouse with over half a million followers.
Yet life has not always been plain sailing for this Miami native.
After joining a Graffiti Crew at a very young age, life quickly descended into chaos.
At the age of 16, he pleaded guilty to charges of Kidnapping and Armed Robbery following a world famous heist in Florida. Tried as an adult, a teenage MVP was sentenced to 18 and a half years in prison.
His outlook was grim – a number of his friends and acquaintances had been shot dead or sent to Prison. A Florida prison full of murderers, drug dealers and sex offenders was no place for a 16 year old.
MVP went onto become a two-time US Heavyweight Champion before he shocked the WWE Universe by amicably agreeing to part ways with the WWE in 2010. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at