Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen received good news yesterday during a court hearing in Las Vegas regarding an altercation he allegedly caused.
Although the reason for the altercation was never made public, Sonnen’s friend Brendan Schaub reported at the time that Sonnen became involved in the scuffle after his wife was berated by a “drunken couple” in a hotel hallway.
The couple in question are Christopher Stellpflug a 48-year-old dentist and his wife Julie Stellpflug.
The Stellpflug couple recently filed a lawsuit against the fighter. In the suit, the couple states that Sonnen allegedly attacked them and repeatedly punched them “without provocation”. They also allege he was violent towards his own wife.
In Nevade – felony crimes involve time in prison, while misdemeanor crimes involve jail time or suspended sentences; Felony crimes involve prison time of 365 days or more. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in a jail. As is, it’s unlikely Sonnen will serve jail time.
Sonnen was initially charged earlier this month with a felony count of battery by strangulation and 10 misdemeanor counts of battery. However, after today’s hearing, prosecutors dropped a felony charge and four misdemeanor counts against Sonnen in relation to the alleged attack.
Sonnen’s attorney, Dayvid Figler, said he asked prosecutors to review the case and suggested the charges be reduced because Sonnen either did not intend to commit them or the Stellpflug’s alleged injuries were not severe enough.
Stellpflug’s defense attorney, Kory Kaplan, argued that Sonnen’s celebrity status gives him an unfair advantage in the case.
“It’s only a day or two after this case hits the media that all of a sudden this motion is filed,” Kaplan said during the hearing. “And I don’t know for what reason. My clients believe that a celebrity is getting favorable treatment.”
Chael Sonnen claims he has no memory of the attack whatsoever. According to an arrest warrant issued on February 4th, Sonnen stated that he and his wife had both taken a sleeping pill prior to the attack and that neither he nor his wife have any memory of the altercation.
Sonnen has yet to publicly comment on the matter besides the joke he made on cameo where he alluded to how similar Chael sounds to Jail.
Although felony charges were dropped, the martial artist still faces 6 misdemeanor charges and is due to appear in court on April 27, in Las Vegas.