Former UFC fighter Aaron Brink, father of Anderson Lee Aldrich — the alleged suspect in the Club Q nightclub shooting in Colorado that left five people dead — says he let his son down.
But Brink, 48, also believed his son was dead, after his ex-wife called him in 2016 to advise that the then-teen had both changed his name, and taken his own life. As it turns out, at least part of that was false: Aldrich legally changed his name just shy of his 16th birthday, at least in part because of his father’s history of violence. But rather than dead, the 22-year-old is now accused of gunning down five and wounding several others before patrons at the nightclub disarmed him.
Aldrich faces murder and possible hate crime charges, with Club Q identified as a gay nightclub. In a twist, Aldrich’s lawyers say he identifies as “nonbinary” and have been referring to their client as Mx. Aldrich in court filings.
Prosecutors do not believe Aldrich’s gender status will have any bearing on the case, and it does not necessarily preclude hate crime charges.
Born Nicholas Franklin Brink, the younger Brink petitioned a Texas court to change his name in 2016 with the support of his grandparents, who were his legal guardians at the time. “Minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any connections to birth father and his criminal history. Father has had no contact with minor for several years,” the petition stated.
It was alleged that Brink senior had been violent towards’ Aldrich’s mother, the daughter of a California legislator, and had embarked on a career in porn under the name Dick Delaware. He was also the subject of an episode of the reality TV show Intervention, which focused on Brink’s use of methamphetamine. All of which contributed towards Aldrich wanting to distance himself from his father.
That changed about six months ago.
“I thought he was dead. I mourned his loss. I had gone through a meltdown and thought I had lost my son,” Brink told CBS 8 when contacted regarding the shooting. But earlier this year, Brink received a phone call from his son. “He’s pissed off. He’s pissed off at me. He wants to poke at the old man,” Brink said of the conversation.
That was Brink’s last contact with Aldrich. Then, a few days ago, he received a call from the shooting suspect’s attorneys.
A devout Mormon, Brink stated that “we don’t do gay.” But having praised Aldrich for violent behavior in the past, he expressed sympathy for the victims, saying that “I’m sorry for your loss. Life is so fragile and it’s valuable. Those people’s lives were valuable. You know, they’re valuable. They’re good people probably. It’s not something you kill somebody over. I’m sorry I let my son down.”
Aaron Brink’s MMA career began in 1998, and saw him share the cage with the likes of Rich Franklin, Alistair Overeem, Travis Browne, and at UFC 28 in 2000, Andrei Arlovski. While that marked his lone UFC appearance, Brink fought for a number of regional promotions right up until 2019. With just under 60 fights to his name, Brink’s record as of 2019 was 29-27, 2NC.