Atwater resident Matt Granado was on a family vacation at Disneyland over the weekend when a fight broke out that was captured in a video that went viral online.
Footage of the violent altercation had been viewed over 2 million times on YouTube as of Tuesday afternoon and gained national news media attention.
Granado, 34, can be seen on the video coming in trying to calm the situation.
“I saw it going on and a gentleman stepped in to try to stop it,” Granado said. “I thought, whatever, fine. Then it started up again and that’s when I tried to defuse the situation. I wasn’t trying to put hands on the guy. Hopefully, I could slow things down until somebody could call security. That didn’t work out. Things escalated so a few of us had to restrain him.”
According to the Anaheim Police Department, the people involved in the fight are all family members.
The video, which lasts more than 4 minutes, shows them spitting, slapping, punching and pulling hair. The video shows a man in a red shirt hitting two different women.
“There’s kids around, there’s family around, and I believe nobody should ever put their hands on a woman,” Granado said. “I was brought up that way. It had to be stopped. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t thinking a whole lot. I just had to stop it.”
Granado just finished his first year teaching math at Buhach Colony High School. He helped coach football and baseball last year. He’ll be the head freshmen football coach this fall.
Wearing a black Buhach Colony High School jacket and a gray BC hat, Granado comes in about 1 minute, 40 seconds into the video to help break up the fight. At one point, Granado and a few other men have to restrain the man in the red shirt after he attacks a second woman.
“I wasn’t afraid for myself,” Granado said. “Toward the end of the video, you see a guy who had a chokehold on (the man with the red shirt). I told him to stop. If that guy stops breathing it’s bad for all of us.”
The video of the fight went viral as it popped up on news sites across the country including the New York Times and LA Times.
Soon people started recognizing Granado on the video.
“My phone started getting text messages,” he said. “I had people reach out to me on Facebook that I haven’t talked to in a long time ask if that was you?
“I was worried because I was wearing Buhach Colony gear. Would it cause an issue with the program? I was worried because I’m a first-year teacher. I sent a text to (Buhach Colony head football coach) Kevin Navarra asking him and he said, ‘No, you did a stand-up thing.’”
Navarra had nothing but praise for the way Granado handled the situation.
“The first thing I told him is he did nothing bad,” Navarra said. “He should be proud. Matt’s like an old-school guy in that what we have on, what we say, represents not only the football program but the school and our area.
“We as coaches try to emphasize to our players about being young men and being good citizens. The first thing I noticed watching the video was how many people were standing around not doing anything. Then Matt comes in and he’s not being aggressive. He’s trying to defuse the situation”
Granado said he wasn’t asked to give a statement to the police or anybody from Disneyland about the incident.
He says friends who have seen the video have called him a hero. He disagrees.
“Honestly, it’s a little uncomfortable,” Granado said. “I’m not a person who needs to take credit or wants kudos for something like that. I did what I had to do. I’m not trying to be on TV or do interviews. That’s not me. But if people saw myself and the other gentlemen step in and that inspires people to do something good that’s enough for me. We’ve got to help each other.”