Volkan Oezdemir will still compete as expected at UFC 220 after pleading not guilty to a felony charge in Florida court on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Oezdemir is being charged with felony battery causing great bodily harm, a third degree felony. The Swiss fighter entered a not guilty plea in Broward County (Fla.) Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court. His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 22. MMAFighting.com was first to report the news.
Oezdemir’s ability to travel will not be affected by the ongoing case. As a result, “No Time” will be able to challenge Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title in the UFC 220 co-headliner in Boston on Jan. 20.
Oezdemir allegedly knocked a man unconscious outside a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., bar on Aug. 12. He was initially arrested on Nov. 19 and posted a $10,000 bond.
The alleged victim, Kevin Cohen, said that he was struck by Oezdemir and knocked unconscious for 14 minutes. Cohen was then transported to a hospital for multiple lacerations and concussion symptoms. Cohen exited the bar to check on another friend, Sergio Sandoval, who had also been allegedly knocked unconscious. Cohen claims that Oezdemir hit him when he inquired about what happened to his friend. Oezdemir’s attorney, Bruce A. Zimet, has stated that his client was not the aggressor in the incident.
Oezdemir could face a maximum sentence of five years if convicted. The Fribourg, Switzerland, native’s immigration status could also be affected if he is found guilty.
The 28-year-old was arguably the UFC’s biggest breakout star of 2017. After taking a split decision over Ovince St. Preux in his Octagon debut, “No Time” scored knockouts of Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa in a combined 70 seconds to emerge as an unlikely championship contender.