Jeremy Stephens: Assault trial date delayed (again) for UFC fighter until July 8, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa

Two birds of a feather ... one has a punchface. - Al Bello

Long-time lightweight UFC fighter Jeremy Stephens was granted a continuance for his upcoming trial. He faces assault charges stemming from a beating that nearly killed a man.

Perennial Lightweight New Featherweight, Jeremy Stephens, who allegedly beat a man to near death outside Fat Tonys Sports Tap in Des Moines, Iowa, with the help of a friend in Dec. 2011, will have his day in court on July 8, 2013.

That's because the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran has once again had his jury trial delayed at his own (and his lawyers) request.

To recap, Stephens was arrested the morning of his UFC on FX 5 fight against Yves Edwards in Minneapolis, Minn, on an out-of-state warrant, which sparked a mini-controversy because UFC president Dana White tried to move heaven and Earth -- Charles Manson-type bail money -- to get him out of jail and into his cage.

It later turned out that the accusation was of a serious nature, which could lead to significant jail time if he's found guilty. He was eventually released on bail and declared his innocence short thereafter.

He even made a video about it.

Anyway, BloodyElbow.com's Chris Hall provides the latest legal update:

Additionally, Stephens, his attorney, and the county attorney have signed a discovery agreement.

Continuing a criminal trial is fairly standard procedure and it's not unusual for it to happen multiple times in a single case. The discovery agreement works as a way for both sides to streamline the investigative process going forward. The document outlines what type of discovery will be allowed, when it will be revealed, etc. The agreement prevents either side from wasting time and money through objections that would lead to additional hearings and pleadings.

The final outcome of Stephens' legal issues will come down to what's presented by each side through the discovery process. If, after reviewing what produced by the county, Stephens legal team believes they have a strong enough defense to beat the charges, they'll proceed to trial in July. If not, they'll probably look to strike a plea deal with the prosecutor for a light sentence.

It's been a rough 18 months personally and professionally for Stephens, who is on a three-fight losing streak, the last of which was a brutal knockout at the hands of aforementioned Edwards, who eventually hooked up at UFC on FOX 5 in Dec. 2012.

Stephens is expected to make his 145-pound debut (read more on that decision here) against promotional newcomer Estevan Payan on May 25, 2013 at UFC 160. He was originally scheduled for pre-trial conference this month and a jury trial in April, which would have certainly thrown a wrench into his upcoming mixed martial arts (MMA) plans.

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