DENVER — A fitness instructor in Denver has been fired after a fight broke out during his class, according to attendees of his workout class.
It was all caught on tape.
Now, some members of the instructor's class said it's not fair that he was let go by the gym.
"I certainly thought that VASA would have protected him as an employee, as a senior citizen, as someone who did not provoke this interaction, but that wasn't the case. They fired him," said Tara Steiner, who saw the fight happen.
Aqua Zumba classes at VASA Fitness on South Sheridan Boulevard is something Steiner always makes time for. Marlon Centeno is a popular instructor and a beloved one, at that.
"It's definitely a highlight of my week and a sense of community, really," she said. "It's been sad. I think we've all been super concerned for him and how he's doing."
On July 28, a fight broke out during Centeno's class.
"I had my camera going," said Krista Caliga, who was filming the workout session led by Centeno on that day. "These two guys tried to walk in front of him. There wasn't any room for them to walk."
She said two teenagers tried to get past Centeno as he was instructing and one of the teens fell into the water.
"It's certainly suspicious when you walk past an exit into a middle of a class, walking right towards an instructor, what are your intentions with that?" said Steiner. "There are two other exits to the pool."
There was pushing and punching.
"When he was in the water, Marlon held out his open hands like, 'I'm sorry,' and the guy got out of the water and he was just totally out of control, belligerent and angry," said Caliga.
Steiner said it all happened quickly.
"I think he had to defend himself at that point," she said. “What happened was not right and how it’s been handled has not been right.”
In the video, three ladies in the class including Caliga formed a barrier between the two.
“He was threatening Marlon and I could see what was happening and I took off from the other side of the pool to go around to be with Marlon," she said. “One of the girls got behind him and was trying to pull him away from Marlon and us.”
Eventually, the fighting stopped.
Steiner said both parties have filed complaints against each other with the police.
"I believe his [Centeno's] shoulder was dislocated and had a torn rotator cuff," she said. “He’s without income now. He’s injured. He can’t work.”
VASA Fitness spokesperson Jaime Cottini gave this statement regarding the situation:
“We don’t tolerate any form of aggression or violence in our clubs and strive to create a safe and friendly environment for our members and team members. We have thoroughly reviewed this incident and want to respect the privacy of all involved and therefore cannot share the details publicly. VASA management has taken appropriate action to address this situation.”
We are waiting for more information from Denver Police.
Some members of Centeno's class have created an online fundraiser for him.
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