clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC 220 headliner Volkan Oezdemir pleads not guilty to felony battery charges

Light heavyweight title challenger Volkan Oezdemir appeared in court to answer charges that he assaulted a man at a bar earlier this year.

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Volkan Oezdemir is on the verge of taking his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 220 on January 20th, but first he had to take care of a little court business on the side.

According to MMA Fighting, Oezdemir appeared in front of the Broward County Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court in Florida on Tuesday to plead not guilty of felony battery with great bodily harm. The courts accepted his plea and released him without any travel restrictions, allowing the Swiss fighter to attend his fight in Boston, Massachusetts.

His next court date has been set for February 22nd, leaving Oezdemir clear to concentrate on his dreams of championship gold.

The third degree felony charges Oezdemir faces stem from an altercation at a bar called Capone’s. Alleged victim Kevin Cohen claims Oezdemir knocked him out without provocation, leaving him unconscious for nearly fifteen minutes and suffering from lacerations and a concussion. Oezdemir’s lawyer contends his client was “just defending himself.”

The charges came to light right around the time the UFC was setting up the UFC 220 fight between Oezdemir and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, leaving some wondering whether Oezdemir would be pulled from the event. But the UFC soldiered on with the booking and for once the MMA Gods smiled upon a main event bout, with the charges not causing any problems other than extra stress for the challenger.

Oezdemir comes into his title shot on a five fight winning streak with has last two victories coming via knockout in under a minute. His record stands at 15-1 with 11 victories via knockout. Champ Daniel Cormier is returning to action after a brutal KO loss to Jon Jones at UFC 214 in July that was subsequently overturned due to a Jones drug test failure. That puts his record at 19-1-1 with the loss and No Contest coming via “Bones,” the only man who has managed to give him trouble.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania