No conviction for mixed martial artist who dared to strike back after getting hit first

An MMA pro from New Zealand escaped criminal conviction after knocking out a guy who assaulted him at a party.

According to the New Zealand website Stuff, a mixed martial artist and apprentice builder named James Craughwell admitted to attacking a guy in the Miramar suburb back in September 2021. He appeared in Wellington District Court last December.

The victim and Craughwell both attended a home party, according to the police report. The victim is said to have approached the MMA pro in the driveway early on September 26 and then punched him without provocation.

The 28-year-old hit back with a strike that rendered the victim unconscious. The victim suffered from a shattered eye socket, a broken nose, and a cut above the eye that left a scar and nerve damage.

In court proceedings, Craughwell requested for his name to be suppressed in connection with the case and his discharge without conviction. Even though the police believed that the martial artist had reacted to the assault with excessive force, Judge Peter Hobbs approved the request for no conviction.

The victim chose not to accept the compensation or restorative justice meeting that the mixed martial artist had offered. Additionally, Craughwell’s actions were branded as self-defense.

Despite granting Craughwell a conviction-free discharge, the court refused to keep his identity secret. He dismissed the idea that a public assault charge would hurt his prospects in a sport that promotes violence.

Since the event, Craughwell has been attending counselling sessions and doing community service at his martial arts gym. The judge stated that these actions would have been handed down to him if he were convicted.

Craughwell has participated in various disciplines, including making it all the way to the King in the Ring eight-man kickboxing series final in 2021.