Senator Mullin Challenges Teamsters PresidentSenator Mullin Challenges Teamsters President

Senator Mullin Challenges Teamsters President

Oklahoma’s Republican Senator, Markwayne Mullin, during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, momentarily challenged the physical combat skills of the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, amidst a discussion on unions representing workers within the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The head of one of the country’s largest and influential unions, Sean O’Brien, was testifying as a witness.

When he had the opportunity to question the witnesses, he referred to a previous hearing in March where a heated exchange took place between him and O’Brien regarding Mullin’s background as a business owner and O’Brien’s salary as the union head.

“I must commend your persistence today. It’s truly remarkable. After you left, there was quite a buzz about your performance at the board. In fact, you tweeted at me one, two, three, four, five times,” he remarked, holding a printout of O’Brien’s posts. He then read aloud a post in which O’Brien referred to Mullin as a “greedy CEO,” “ridiculous,” and “deceptive.”

Mullin Challenges O’Brien: Sanders Steps In

“You know where to find me. Anytime, anywhere, bring it on,” he said, gesturing towards the space between the witnesses’ table and the committee’s dais. “If you want to run your mouth, we can settle this here and now.”

O’Brien responded, “Alright, fine. Perfect.”

“Do you want to do this now?” Mullin asked.

“I would rather handle it immediately,” responded O’Brien.

“Alright, stand your ground, then,” he said.

Mullin then stood his ground. At this moment, Committee Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders intervened.

“Hold on. Sanders pointed out O’Brien’s status as a U.S. Senator and criticized his use of “ridiculous” during the hearing, highlighting the public’s existing contempt for Congress. Let’s not make it worse.”

Capitol Clash: Mullin’s MMA Background and Verbal Sparring

A physical altercation ensued somewhere in the non-real Capitol Hall, involving an immediate separate clash between lawmakers. After the House Republicans’ meeting, GOP Rep. Tim Burchett said that former House Speaker Kyon McCarthy taunted him, leading to a confrontation. McCarthy denied physically assaulting him.

Capitol Clash
Capitol Clash

Mullin’s Senate website notes that he is a “former undefeated mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter with a professional record of 5-0,” and he is inducted into the Oklahoma Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The Republican Senator and the Labor leader continued their verbal sparring for the remaining few minutes. It seemed like they had reached some resolution for a while, but the situation changed again. The exchange concluded with Sanders scolding them when both individuals called each other “disgraceful” and “thug.”

After the hearing, he told reporters that the clash was not personal, and he did not hold any “hard feelings” about it. He mentioned that O’Brien challenged him, and he accepted the challenge.


Why did Senator Mullin challenge the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Sean O’Brien, during the Senate hearing?   

The challenge arose during a discussion on unions when he referenced a previous heated exchange in March about their backgrounds and salary disagreements.

What led Senator Mullin to mention O’Brien’s tweets and invite a physical confrontation?   

Mullin commended O’Brien’s persistence, highlighting the buzz around O’Brien’s performance, and invited him to settle differences physically after critical tweets and ongoing verbal sparring.

How did Committee Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders intervene during the confrontation?   

Sanders intervened, reminding them of O’Brien’s status as a U.S. Senator, criticizing inflammatory language, and expressing concern about public contempt for Congress.

Was there a physical altercation, and what was the aftermath of the confrontation?

A physical altercation ensued, and after a few minutes of verbal sparring, Sanders scolded both individuals. Senator Mullin later told reporters he harbored no “hard feelings.”

What background does Senator Mullin have, as mentioned on his Senate website?

He is noted as a former undefeated MMA fighter with a record of 5-0, and he’s inducted into the Oklahoma Wrestling Hall of Fame.


Senator Markwayne Mullin’s challenge to Teamsters President Sean O’Brien sparked tensions during a Senate hearing. Despite moments of potential resolution, the situation escalated, leading to scolding from Committee Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders. The incident, involving both words and physical altercations between lawmakers, underscores the intense emotions surrounding discussions on unions. 

Senator Mullin, known for his MMA background, expressed no personal animosity afterward, highlighting broader political divides. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and heightened emotions in the political landscape.

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