A large alligator was in the parking lot of the Northwestern Legends Elementary School in Jacksonville's Moncrief community on May 21.
To deal with the hulking gator, authorities called in Mike Dragich – a licensed Florida alligator trapper, MMA fighter, and Marine veteran.
"We get there, I walked through the gate, and boom," Dragich told WOFL. "There it was, just ready to go right there in the parking lot, and we just had to get the job done."
A crowd of roughly 200 people gathered at the elementary school to witness the dramatic showdown of man versus beast.
Video shows the Florida man grabbing the gator by its tail as the onlookers gasped and cheered.
The aggressive alligator viciously snapped at Dragich and vigorously spun during a death roll.
Dragich used a catch rod to hook the alligator and wear the animal out.
He said, "If you don't get these animals tired, they will hurt you, if not kill you."
Finally, Dragich was able to subdue the wild animal, and several firefighters sat on the alligator's back to prevent it from escaping.
Dragich told WJXT that he put down the alligator and hopes to use the meat for a cookout with the people of Moncrief.
"I felt like Batman. I was there. These people [were] scared to death of this alligator," he said.
Dragich drew parallels between trapping alligators and MMA fighting: "A lot of fighters will understand that … when you go to the cage, you’re nervous, but once that cage door closes, you gotta be focused."
When asked if he is crazy for tussling with alligators, Dragich responded, "I am Florida man – that's what I have to say to that."
He delivered a warning about interacting with alligators, "I always tell people be very careful and don't do what I'm doing, on social media. But, I can promise you, that the animals are respected and they are dealt with in a professional manner each and every time, regardless of what it may look like on social media."
He posts videos of himself wrangling alligators on his "Blue Collar Brawler" Instagram page.
Dragich says he shares alligator videos online to garner attention so that he can direct people to the plight of veterans with the purpose to "get these veterans the help that they need."
Dragich is the founder of Project Savior Outdoors – an organization with a mission of fighting "PTSD and Veteran suicide by connecting with the great outdoors and sharing the true freedom that comes through Jesus Christ!"
"My heart goes to our veterans dealing with PTSD and the issue of veteran suicide," Dragich said.
Dragich was shot when he was a teen, then joined the military and served in Afghanistan. Once returned from the Marines, he became an MMA fighter.
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