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Former Glory kickboxer and Bellator fighter Joe Schilling was caught on camera knocking out a man cold at a bar.
Schilling shared the footage on his own Instagram account before it was taken down for violating the social media platform’s guidelines on harassment and bullying. The video remains on Twitter and went viral when it surfaced Monday, raising questions about what transpired.
Few details were available initially but have since come to light. Here’s what we know so far about Schilling’s alleged assault.
What does the video show?
The video shows a man standing in the middle of a walkway when Schilling walks up behind him. The man bumps into Schilling, who moves him off to the side and continues walking for a few steps until it appears the man says something, causing Schilling to turn around and confront the man face to face. Within two seconds, Schilling punches the man and he falls to the ground apparently unconscious.
Footage emerged of former GLORY Tournament Champion & Bellator fighter Joe Schilling assaulting a man in a bar dispute. The fighter took it to social media and claims it was self-defense, during a "life-threatening experience". pic.twitter.com/cybXpPJWFT
— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) June 28, 2021
Where do things stand legally?
The man in the video was identified as 31-year-old Justin Balboa, and the incident took place at a bar in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. According to MMA Fighting, which obtained a police report, no formal charges have been filed against Schilling, who could face one misdemeanor charge of simple battery for striking Balboa. As of Tuesday, no formal charges had been filed.
What Balboa had to say
According to the police report, Balboa said Schilling “just hit him for no reason.” Balboa, who was described in the report as “obviously intoxicated” when the alleged assault occurred, didn’t elaborate further on the incident itself, adding that he “only wanted the incident documented in order to file a civil suit against the establishment.” Balboa later stated in a follow-up conversation with police that, after watching the video of the incident, he plans to prosecute Schilling. A bar manager described Balboa as “extremely intoxicated” at the time of the incident.
Schilling claims self-defense
In his initial Instagram post that was removed, Schilling claimed he acted in self-defense and has reiterated that stance in subsequent social media posts.
“Little context: This guy’s rapping like an idiot,” Schilling wrote. “The buss boy who happens to be black walks by, and this idiot bumps into him and screams out, ‘Me and broke n****s, we don’t get along.’ The busboy was seriously offended but doesn’t want to lose his job. As the night goes on, this clown starts looking at me and rapping whatever song is being played while making eye contact with me. I’m like, what’s wrong with this idiot? I go outside to smoke and as I’m walking back in, he bumps into me. I put my hand out to catch him. He immediately says ‘I’m sorry.’ You can see me nod my head like, cool.
“Then he realizes it’s me, the guy he’s been rapping at all night and yells, ‘HEY.’ I turn around, and he flexes on me. … Bad decisions are made every day. I went back and sat down to finish my drink and pay my bill. Two servers, the busboy and DJ came up to thank me. As you can see from this video when he flexed on me, I was scared for my life and simply defending myself against the evil in this world.”
Balboa’s attorney speaks out
Contrary to Schilling’s account of self-defense, Balboa’s lawyer sees the incident as inexcusable. Attorney Robert Solomon told MMA Fighting that his client suffered a head injury but the extent is unknown, adding that the alleged assault “was something that should not have happened.”
“It should not have happened,” Solomon said. “You watch that video and you cringe. This is a professional fighter. To tell me you felt threatened as a professional fighter that’s fighting in the highest level of all the fighting, Bellator and all these things, I don’t buy it. I think it was uncalled for, and there’s consequences when you do things like that. …
“I think a professional fighter overreacted to a situation, that he didn’t need to do what he did, and to punch somebody as hard as he punched this guy, he’s lucky he’s not dead and we’re dealing with a different type of case.”