Robert Rundo

Robert Rundo is the founder and leader of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), a white supremacist gang based in Southern California that calls itself the “premier MMA (mixed martial arts) club of the Alt-Right.”“Rise Above Movement,” (R.A.M.), ADL, https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram. In a since deleted YouTube video, RAM co-founder Robert Rundo said he and Ben Daley founded RAM because they did not see a place for themselves in the far-right movement at the time, condemning the alt-right movement for “playing dress-up.” According to Rundo, they wanted a group that would reach beyond online forums.“Guidelines2Rise - Starting your crew,” YouTube video, 10:46, posted July 26, 2020, by “Media 2Rise,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFq6IkruUDQ.

Rundo was born and raised in Queens, New York. In 2009, Rundo and his friends confronted two Latino men in a store, chasing the victims before Rundo pounced on one man and stabbed him in the right hand, right elbow, left arm, chest, and neck. Rundo was sentenced to two years in a state prison on gang assault charges, serving around 20 months of the sentence.A.C. Thompson, Alin Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham, “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace,” ProPublica, October 19, 2017, https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-rise-above-movement.

Rundo co-founded RAM with Ben Daly in 2017 in Southern California.Karim Zidan, “RAM’s revival and the ongoing struggle against MMA’s far-right fight clubs,” Guardian (London), November 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/27/rams-revival-and-the-ongoing-struggle-against-mmas-far-right-fight-clubs; “Four Local Members of White Supremacy Group Face Federal Charges in Attacks at Political Rallies across California,” U.S. Department of Justice, October 24, 2018, https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/four-local-members-white-supremacy-group-face-federal-charges-attacks-political-rallies. One of RAM’s core focus is MMA and athleticism. It is through training members in street fighting that they hope to reignite the “warrior spirit” of the white male.Ali Winston and A.C. Thompson, “American Hate Group Looks to Make Allies in Europe,” ProPublica, July 5, 2018, https://www.propublica.org/article/robert-rundo-denis-nikitin-hooligans-europe-hate-group. Members of RAM have traveled to Europe to participate in MMA tournaments organized by German and Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups.“Rise Above Movement,” Center for International Security and Cooperation, https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/rise-above-movement. RAM has established athletics clubs and “neighborhood” gyms to attract recruits, framing them in the style of 20th century boxing and youth clubs.Robert Rundo, “The Idea Behind ‘Active Club’ Part 1,” Media 2 Rise, December 7, 2020, https://media2rise.com/2020/12/07/active-club/. RAM believes in physically fighting the destructive cultural influences of liberals, Jews, Muslims, and non-white immigrants.“Rise Above Movement,” (R.A.M.), ADL, https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram.

On March 25, 2017, Rundo and fellow RAM member Tyler Laube attended a rally in support of then-U.S. President Donald Trump in Huntington Beach, California.“Four Local Members of White Supremacy Group Face Federal Charges in Attacks at Political Rallies across California,” U.S. Department of Justice, October 24, 2018, https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/four-local-members-white-supremacy-group-face-federal-charges-attacks-political-rallies; Priscella Vega and Julia Sclafani, “Arrests of white power leaders are a reminder of Huntington Beach’s painful past,” Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2018, https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-hb-robert-rundo-20181026-story.html. While at the rally, Laube grabbed a journalist and punched him in the face three times. During the same rally, Rundo punched one protester in the back of the head, and then assaulted a second protester.Adam Goldman and Ali Winston, “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America,” New York Times, October 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-rundo-rise-above.html. On April 15, 2017, Rundo and other RAM members traveled to a rally in Berkeley, California.“Four Local Members of White Supremacy Group Face Federal Charges in Attacks at Political Rallies across California,” U.S. Department of Justice, October 24, 2018, https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/four-local-members-white-supremacy-group-face-federal-charges-attacks-political-rallies. Video footage showed the men taping their hands beforehand in preparation for fighting and wearing skeleton masks. According to videos, RAM member Robert Boman punched at least two people, while Rundo punched a police officer and another protester.Adam Goldman and Ali Winston, “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America,” New York Times, October 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-rundo-rise-above.html.

On October 24, 2018, F.B.I. agents arrested Rundo on charges of plotting riots and inciting violence.Adam Goldman and Ali Winston, “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America,” New York Times, October 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-rundo-rise-above.html. Rundo, along with RAM members Robert Boman, Tyler Laube, and Aaron Eason,  were­ charged under a federal anti-riot statute with planning and then carrying out assaults at 2017 rallies in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino, and Berkeley in the months after former President Donald Trump’s election.A.C. Thompson, “Federal Judge Dismisses Charges Against 3 White Supremacists,” PBS, June 4, 2019, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/federal-judge-dismisses-charges-against-3-white-supremacists/. Rundo was held at the federal jail in downtown Los Angeles.Adam Goldman and Ali Winston, “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America,” New York Times, October 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-rundo-rise-above.html. On June 6, 2019, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, dismissed Rundo, Boman, and Eason of a series of charges, arguing that the Anti-Riot Act is “unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment,” and that the government’s charges largely dealt with behavior protected as free speech.Alexander Mallin, “Calif. district judge tosses US case against members of white nationalist group,” ABC News, June 6, 2019, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/calif-district-judge-tosses-us-case-members-white/story?id=63511366.

In November 2020, Bellingcat—an international collective of researchers, investigators, and journalists—revealed that Rundo was building a new base for himself in Serbia. However, in February 2021, Serbian authorities expelled Rundo from the country.Michael Colborne, “‘On the Run Again’: Has US White Supremacist Rob Rundo Returned to Serbia?,” Bellingcat, December 2, 2021, https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2021/12/02/on-the-run-again-has-us-white-supremacist-rob-rundo-returned-to-serbia/. However, on November 8, 2021, Rundo posted a photo of himself on his Telegram channel that was quickly taken down. Due to graffiti in a photo, Bellingcat was able to determine that Rundo was in Belgrade, Serbia.“Bosnian Police Hunt for Wanted US Far-Right Activist,” Balkan Insight, March 30, 2021, https://balkaninsight.com/2021/03/30/bosnian-police-hunt-for-wanted-us-far-right-activist/.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Rise Above Movement (RAM)
Type(s) of Organization:
Athletic club, street-fighting club, mixed martial arts
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Alt-right, neo-Nazi, Identitarian, nativist
Position(s):
Leader and founding member

  • Rhetoric
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