WATCH: Man wrangles 10-foot alligator in Fla. school parking lot

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 12:39 AM PDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXT) - A Florida trapper, known as the “Blue Collar Brawler,” was caught on camera wrestling a menacing alligator in an elementary school parking lot.

Mike Dragich, a licensed alligator trapper, got the call about a nuisance gator roaming the campus of Northwestern Legends Elementary School in Jacksonville on the night of May 21. When he arrived, there was a crowd of neighbors alongside police and firefighters.

“I felt like Batman. … These people were scared to death of this alligator,” Dragich said.

Video shows Dragich working to tire out the 10-foot alligator as some people in the crowd around him screamed.

“There’s nothing that gets the juices flowing and the adrenaline pumping quite like messing with a big alligator, but what I was doing was getting him tired. You’ve got to get these animals tired, or they can really hurt you,” the trapper said.

The gator was large, aggressive and had become used to people, so Dragich said he had to put it down. He harvested it and plans to give the meat back to the community, possibly at a cookout for the people who saw him wrangle the alligator.

“Do not try this at home,” Dragich warned.

Dragich is an on-call gator trapper for Duval County, and as of late, the so-called “Blue Collar Brawler” has gotten a lot of attention on social media with millions of views on videos of him wrangling reptiles, animals he says he deeply respects.

Dragich has also had his struggles. He was shot and left for dead as a young man, then became a Marine who served in Afghanistan and is now a mixed martial arts fighter and father. He hopes he can use his story and adventures to inspire others.

He runs a nonprofit called Project Savior Outdoors with a mission to fight post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide by helping veterans connect with the outdoors.

“Our goal is to take veterans, first responders and people out there that are struggling with mental illness and get them the help that they need,” Dragich said.