A UFC fighter on the cusp of a title shot will first have to navigate criminal allegations.
Volkan Oezdemir was arrested over the weekend on a charge of aggravated battery with serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony, in Florida. He paid a $10,000 bond and was released from custody Sunday, per court records.
According to the incident report obtained by MMA Fighting via the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the arrest stems from an incident that took place Aug. 12 outside a bar called Capone’s in Fort Lauderdale.
Kevin Cohen, the alleged victim, told police that he went outside after hearing a friend had been knocked unconscious following a verbal altercation with another man. Upon asking who knocked out his friend, Cohen told cops that he looked up and was hit in the face.
Cohen said he lost consciousness for about 14 minutes and was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for concussion symptoms and given multiple staples for lacerations. Cohen said people present outside Capone’s told him it was Oezdemir that hit him.
Fort Lauderdale police investigated the allegations that Oezdemir also struck Cohen’s friend, Sergio Sandoval, but could not reach Sandoval by phone or mail, per the incident report. Oezdemir is currently only being charged for the alleged attack on Cohen; the alleged battery of Sandoval has been designated as inactive.
In a hearing filmed by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oezdemir’s attorney Bruce Zimet said Oezdemir was not the aggressor in the bar altercation and was justified in his actions. A request to Zimet from MMA Fighting for further comment was not returned Monday.
Oezdemir, 28, is a native of Switzerland and has passport has been stored by Broward County court, per records.
Oezdemir (15-1) trains out of Combat Club in Lantana, Fla. He has won all three of his UFC fights this year and was expected to challenge Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight belt in early 2018.
The UFC released a statement Sunday, saying the promotion would investigate the incident to determine any action.