3 MMA fighters currently facing criminal charges

Cain Velazquez, Photo Credit: Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group
Cain Velazquez, Photo Credit: Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group

MMA fighters are, of course, used to violence in the cage. However, some fighters who took fights to the streets found themselves facing criminal charges.

Outside of the slew of charges Jon Jones and Conor McGregor have been charged with over the years, a handful of other MMA fighters have made headlines in the same sense.

Chael Sonnen, Jorge Masvidal, and Cain Velasquez, in particular, are currently looking at heavy cases. In addition to their criminal charges, Sonnen and Masvidal are dealing with harsh consequences detrimental to their careers. Velasquez, on the other hand, will possibly see 20 years to life in prison for his crime.

#3. Chael Sonnen

UFC Fight Night: Shogun v Sonnen
UFC Fight Night: Shogun v Sonnen

Following an incident in December, former UFC fighter and MMA analyst Chael Sonnen was charged with 11 separate counts of battery, including one felony.

Allegedly, Sonnen was involved in a brawl at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Multiple hotel patrons, including a woman, accused Sonnen of assaulting them unprovoked. Cops arrived on the scene, yet Sonnen was never arrested, only detained and given citations. All charges were supposedly dropped in January but have recently resurfaced with new, grim details attached. Fellow former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub accompanied Sonnen to Vegas and was present during the incident. He refuses to believe any of the charges against Sonnen carry any truth.

Christopher and Julie Stellpflug, a couple involved in the attack, are now suing Sonnen for $15k in damages endured in the assault. Julie claims she was brutally punched by Sonnen when she intervened to stop the brawl. Her partner reports being elbowed and strangled by the former mixed martial artist. The severe case against him left ESPN no choice but to remove him from future content until further notice.

Before retiring in 2019, Sonnen fought across many fight promotions, including the UFC and Bellator. The 45 year old's professional MMA career began in 1997 and finished at 31 wins, 17 losses, and 1 draw.

Sonnen is set to appear in court in Las Vegas on April 27.

#2. Jorge Masvidal

UFC 239 Jorge Masvidal v Ben Askren
UFC 239 Jorge Masvidal v Ben Askren

Most MMA fans love a good grudge match. One of the most hate-fueled matches occurred this year between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington.

For years, Masvidal and Covington were training partners at American Top Team, former friends even. Apparently, that is when their hateful disposition towards each other began. Leading up to their bout at UFC 272, Masvidal made it known to the world that he was going to break Covington's face. Week after week, there was new evidence produced by Masvidal that placed Covington in a negative spotlight. But when it came time to deliver the 'deserved' punishment, Masvidal came up short.

Covington was the better man at the end of the match. Their rivalry was meant to end there; however, the BMF champion had other plans. Masvidal allegedly attacked Covington outside a restaurant in Miami. He was recently charged with second-degree felony aggravated battery after an alleged assault against Covington. Reports say Masvidal punched Covington a few times, cracking one of his teeth and bruising his wrist.

In light of the investigation, "Gamebred" has delayed obtaining a license for his own MMA fight promotion, Bare-Knuckle Gamebred Fighting Championship. Last month, The Nevada State Athletic Commission held a meeting to give him a license, but Masvidal respectfully declined and asked to submit it at another time. The commission agreed and, in addition, asked him to revise his application on the grounds that it no longer represented the true nature of the fighter.

On March 23, Masvidal was arrested with bail set at $15k. He was released from Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center the next day. Following his release, Masvidal posted a comical tweet, seemingly unbothered by just being in jail.

What’s open right now ?
"What's open right now?"

Masvidal is a two-time UFC world title challenger. He is currently on a 3-fight lossing streak and likely plans to remedy that upon his next octagon appearance. However, if convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.


#1. Cain Velasquez

Cain Velasquez During Media Workout
Cain Velasquez During Media Workout

The case of Cain Velasquez is heartbreaking and surrounded by heavy debate. Velasquez took the law into his own hands and shot an innocent man. However, there are many people in agreeance with his actions due to the extreme circumstances that caused them.

Earlier this year, Velasquez was arrested in California without bail, pending a long list of charges. Attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a firearm, and shooting at a motor vehicle are just some of the charges the District Attorney placed on the former MMA fighter.

Allegedly, Velasquez engaged in a high-speed chase that resulted in the shooting of a 63-year-old man. Reports say, Velasquez's intended target was Harry Goularte, who was accused of molesting one of the fighter's young relatives.

Velasquez's next court appearance is set for April 12. He faces 20 years to life in prison for his crimes. While he awaits trial, his wife and children are at home. He has the support of many fellow UFC fighters such as Daniel Cormier, Ronda Rousey, and Derek Brunson. The hashtag 'Free Cain' has become very popular on MMA social media, as both fans and fighters are rooting for him.

Check out this tweet from Derek Brunson:

We support you @cainmma . Proceeds go to his legal fees ! Shirts here ➡️

"We support you @cainmma . Proceeds go to his legal fees ! Shirts here… #FreeCainVelasquez"

The multi-time UFC veteran competed at heavyweight before his last bout against heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in 2019. After retiring from MMA, Velasquez spent some time professional wrestling in Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and briefly in the WWE.

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