Court Proceeds With Felony Case Against UFC Title Contender

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Per Haljestam for USA TODAY Sports

Top light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir may be heading into the biggest bout of his life when he meets current champion Daniel Cormier at January 20’s UFC 220, but he’ll apparently still be dealing with a felony charge when he does.

Today, public records acquired via MMA Fighting revealed that the Stae of Florida was moving ahead with a felony charge against Oezdemir, with a court appearance apparently having been set. Oezdemir’s second-degree felony charge of aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability has been moved down to third-degree felony battery causing great bodily harm.

The rising light heavyweight was originally charged with battery in November. Records stated that judge Barbara R. Duffy would preside over his arraignment hearing in the Broward County Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court on January 9, 2018. Records also showed that state attorney Michael J. Satz had filed the new, lowered charge on December 15, and Duffy had issued a no-bond arrest warrant for Oezdemir, which will only come into play if the Swiss knockout slugger fails to appear in court.

Oezdemir’s trouble dates back to an alleged August 12th incident where he supposedly struck and knocked out Florida man Kevin Cohen for 14 minutes. Cohen also told police he was treated for symptoms of concussion and required staples for multiple lacerations. The alleged incident took place at a bar called Capone’s, where Cohen said he walked outside of after hearing his friend had been knocked out. When he asked who did, according to him, Oezdemir then knocked him out.

Although the charge he’s facing carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail, Oezdemir and his attorney Bruce Zimet have insisted he was merely acting in self-defense. Both Zimet and the UFC did not respond to inquiries from MMA Fighting.