Joe Schilling has been cleared of all legal liability related to a violent confrontation in a Florida bar in June 2021.
The incident saw an inebriated man, Justin Balboa, confront Schilling at B Square Burgers in Fort Lauderdale. After a brief back-and-forth, Balboa appeared to fake a punch at the former GLORY kickboxing and Bellator fighter. Schilling immediately let his hands go, knocking out Balboa.
The clip of the encounter quickly went viral online.
While many wondered whether Schilling would face serious legal repercussions, a judge has declared him in the right.
Citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws, circuit court judge, Fabienne E. Fahnestock, wrote a filing that stated Schilling, “reasonably believed” Balboa, “posed a threat of great bodily harm to himself ... Schilling used only such force necessary to neutralize the threat, and is therefore entitled to immunity.”
“Stitch ‘em Up” released a statement to MMA Fighting following the ruling.
“I’m glad it’s finally over,” he wrote. “For the last two years my name and character has been disparaged in the media, seem like everyone loves the narrative that a professional fighter just beat up some innocent person, which was soooo not the case.
“Most people told me to just settle it and pay him off as that would be easier. I don’t like bullies and I refuse to be bullied by anyone. The ambulance chasing crumb bum of a lawyer he hired threatened to ruin me financially and well the only person he financially ruined was his client.
This motherfucker pumpfaked at joe schilling pic.twitter.com/Iq4fA5cxUb— Brodie4president (@TheBrodie505) June 28, 2021
“I just hope that all of the news outlets that were so quick to post clickbait articles assassinating my character have the same energy now that the truth is out,” he finished. “Justin Balboa is and will always be a f—ing loser.”
While the short video seen by the public seemed to show Schilling taking the opportunity to wreck some random guy, the judge saw security cam footage from the night, which included other interactions between Balboa and the Muay Thai champ. After seeing everything, the court ruled in Schilling’s favor.
The legal battle isn’t completely over. Schilling’s lawyer, David Katz, says they plan on going after Balboa for lawyer’s fees.
“Hopefully the Plaintiff was warned of the risks of filing this lawsuit by his attorneys before filing this suit,” Katz told MMA Fighting. “Balboa now stands liable for all of Schilling’s costs and fees for defending this lawsuit, including the trips he had to make from California and the hiring of investigators and experts.”
With the recent rise in random individuals and influencers getting in the face of professional fighters, it’s worth reminding people to keep in mind what state you’re in before f—ing around, because you might find out.