Court Date Set For Oezdemir Prior to UFC 220
The state of Florida is moving forward with a felony charge against Volkan Oezdemir, and a court appearance has been set, per public records.
Oezdemir was brought up on charges of aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability, which is a second-degree felony. That has since been bumped down to felony battery causing great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. Oezdemir is being accused of striking and knocking out a man outside a Fort Lauderdale bar in August.
Oezdemir has an arraignment scheduled in Broward County Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court with judge Barbara R. Duffy presiding on January 9th.
The hearing comes 11 days before Oezdemir is to challenge Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 220 in Boston on January 20th. The UFC did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the developments in Oezdemir’s case Tuesday.
Michael J. Satz, the Florida state attorney, filed the new charge December 15th. On the same day, a no-bond arrest warrant for Oezdemir was issued by Duffy. That arrest warrant will only come into effect if Oezdemir does not show up to court Jan. 9, according to state attorney spokesperson Constance Simmons.
Oezdemir, a resident of Coconut Creek, Fla., was first arrested November 19th. At a hearing, his attorney Bruce A. Zimet said Oezdemir was not the aggressor in the incident and was justified in his actions. Oezdemir, a Switzerland native, had to surrender his passport to the court temporarily. He pleaded not guilty November 29th
Zimet did not return a request for comment Tuesday.
A Florida man has accused Oezdemir of hitting him and knocking him unconscious outside a bar Aug. 12. Cohen told Fort Lauderdale police that he was out cold for 14 minutes and taken to a hospital, where he was treated for concussion symptoms and given multiple staples for lacerations.
Cohen said he walked outside the bar, Capone’s, after hearing someone had knocked his friend out with a punch. Upon asking who hit his friend, Cohen said Oezdemir struck him.
Felony battery causing great bodily harm in Florida carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Oezdemir, who has won his first three UFC fights in impressive fashion to earn the crack at Cormier, told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour earlier this month that he did not expect the criminal case to get in the way of his title shot.
“I have a really good team around me,” Oezdemir said.
“Believe me, everything is going to be all right. … I don’t really know about all the details, how it’s gonna happen. But definitely I’m gonna fight and I’m gonna be champion.”