jeremy-stephens-15.jpgUFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens can continue with his MMA career after making a plea bargain on charges of felony assault and burglary.

Today in a Polk County (Iowa) courtroom, Stephens pleaded guilty to lesser charges of fourth degree criminal mischief and disorderly conduct in exchange for dropping the charges of felony assault and burglary, according to the fighter’s manager and the county’s assistant district attorney. He was given a sentence of 15 days in jail, which already had been served, in addition to a $315 fine.

Stephens also agreed to pay restitution to the victims of the assault, whom he is forbidden from contacting for five years, Assistant Polk Country Attorney Celene Gogerty told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

According to Stephens’ manager, Ryan Hass, prosecutors dropped the more serious charges because “they had zero evidence showing he had anything to do with it. He had around 10 eye witnesses proving he had no part in it and was inside the whole time when the fight took place outside. His only fault was it being at his party and his then friend committing a crime involving his name.”

Police said the fighter, whose name is “Lil Heathen,” participated in the October 2011 assault of a man and his girlfriend outside a club in his native Des Moines. He was arrested one year later just prior to a fight with Yves Edwards at UFC on FX 5 and then extradited to Iowa, where he sat in jail before being bailed out by Hass.

Prosecutors later charged the fighter with felony assault and burglary, which Hass said could have put Stephens in jail for a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 10.

In previous statements to the media, Hass and Stephens denied any involvement in the assault. UFC President Dana White, who tried in vain to bail the fighter out prior to the event, said the fighter told him that a former friend, Dustin Bachman, was the person that committed the crime. He added that the victim’s accusation of Stephens’ involvement was a shakedown.

“He’s a good kid,” White then said of the fighter. “I’ve known him for years, and if that’s what he tells me, I take grown men for their word.”

Hass today accused Bachman of getting Stephens involved to lessen the punishment for his role in the assault. The manager also said a deposition showed the victim’s intent to involve Stephens in a civil suit, which would have further strained the fighter’s finances after defending himself in criminal court.

“[Stephens] told [White] everything, and that’s why Dana backed him up,” he told MMAjunkie.com. “It was just a matter of proving his innocence, which isn’t easy for a UFC fighter in Polk County.”

Stephens was offered a plea bargain to accept the assault charge with no jail time served and probation, Hass said, but elected to have a jury decide his case.

“It would have been the easy way out (to plead to the more serious charges), especially for a guy that’s had financial struggles due to all of this, but instead went for broke and went to trial,” Hass said.

Gogerty said Stephens’ reps approached her with a plea agreement before jury selection was set to take place.

“I contacted the victims, and they were in agreement to it,” she said.

Gogerty said Bachman currently is on probation as the result of the charges. MMAjunkie.com was unable to verify the details of his case.

Hass said Stephens (21-9 MMA, 8-8 UFC) is relieved to be through with the ordeal and is looking forward to competing again when he is next booked for a fight. He most recently appeared in the octagon at UFC 160, where he dropped to the featherweight class and earned a unanimous decision over Estevan Payan.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

* * * *

Story updated on 7/8/13 at 10:30 p.m. ET to add in Hass’ comments.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Ratings Report: UFC Fight Night 73's ratings continue UFC's strong business run

  • 22 days ago
  • 2 views

Saturday night's UFC Fight Night 73 drew 1,159,000 viewers, the sixth-largest Fight Night numbers in station history, and the prelims, on FS 2, drew 306,000 viewers, the fourth-highest numbers for an read news >>

The MMA Hour - 294 - George Lockhart

  • 23 days ago
  • 4 views

George Lockhart, Cris Cyborg's nutritionist, will talk about her chances of making 135 pounds and more. read news >>

Ronda Rousey Taunts Cris Cyborg, Brazilian Promises Rowdy's 'Last Fight' in UFC

  • 23 days ago
  • 28 views

Cris "Cyborg" Justino has promised to end Ronda Rousey's career after the UFC women's bantamweight champion insisted the only obstacle preventing a fight between the two is money, not weight. “She's read news >>

Dana on UFC offering Cyborg a Rousey fight: 'Tito is just making this s**t up'

  • 24 days ago
  • 12 views

The UFC president responded to Tito Ortiz' claim that the UFC had offered Cris Cyborg a fight against Ronda Rousey this fall at the Dallas Cowboy's stadium. Well that didn't take long. Friday night, read news >>

Dana White calls Tito Ortiz's claims on Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg Justino 'a total lie'

  • 25 days ago
  • 11 views

The news making the rounds Saturday claiming that Dana White offered Cyborg Justino a fight against UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was a surprise to many. Among those most surprised, read news >>

Paul Felder vs. Ross Pearson set for UFC 191

  • 25 days ago
  • 1 views

Paul Felder, coming off the first loss of his career, is set to fight veteran Ross Pearson at UFC 191 in Las Vegas on September 5th. A surefire Fight of the Night candidate has been booked for UFC 19 read news >>

Dana White congratulates Ronda Rousey for making UFC 190 'No. 1 PPV of 2015'

  • 26 days ago
  • 183 views

The UFC president tweeted his women's champion for multiple accomplishments this year, including the best pay-per-view of 2015. One week ago at UFC 190, Ronda Rousey demolished another challenger in read news >>

Ken Porter Has Opportunity Against Former RFA Champ to Boost His Career

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

Ken Porter's star has been rising fast of late, and a win over former RFA champ Matt Manzanares on Friday night would only take him to new heights. read news >>

Video: Mayweather tells Ronda Rousey: Call me when you make over $300 million in 36 mins

  • 27 days ago
  • 27 views

The verbal jabs continue between two of combat sports' biggest stars in Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey. Following her ESPY win, Ronda Rousey took a dig at Floyd Mayweather and his domestic violenc read news >>

UFC Fight Night 73's Frankie Saenz is looking for top 10 opponents

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

The professional career of Frankie Saenz may have gotten off to a rocky start, but the bantamweight has turned his career around with a six-fight winning streak.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>