Top-five ranked UFC featherweight Chad Mendes will be charged with battery for what police say was his role in a July bar fight in his hometown of Hanford, California.
According to the Hanford Sentinel, the Kings County District Attorney's Office has decided to press the charge against him at a Sept. 19 arraignment. The paper reports that he could face up to six months in county jail and a $2,000 fine.
The incident allegedly took place on July 29 at the Lacey Inn Bar. Police say that the 27-year-old Mendes punched an unsuspecting bar patron in the face and later ran from police when they were pursuing him. According to the police, witnesses on the scene recognized him.
In early August, Mendes released a statement through his manager, Jeff Meyer, who is also a practicing attorney. In it, Mendes denied the major allegations against him.
"While Chad acknowledges that an incident occurred last Saturday in Hanford, he contends that the majority of the facts pertaining to him in the story are absolutely false," the statement read in part.
It went on to add, "Chad denies any wrongdoing and is very upset by the allegations contained in the story. He will fully cooperate with the Sheriff's Department and looks forward to clearing his name."
Mendes holds a 12-1 pro fight record and was the featherweight division's No. 1 contender as recently as January 2012. In the UFC, he's 3-1, with his only loss coming at the hands of champion Jose Aldo. In his most recent bout, he needed just 31 seconds to knockout Cody McKenzie at UFC 148. That fight took place in July and the UFC has yet to schedule his next match.
[UPDATE: Meyer sent MMA Fighting a new statement regarding the charge levied against Mendes. The full text is below.]
Chad Mendes has been charged with one count of simple misdemeanor battery following an incident that occurred in Hanford, California in July.
Chad has fully cooperated with the Sherriff’s Department investigation. He has not been arrested or otherwise asked to report to Hanford. There are no additional charges against him.
An arraignment has been scheduled for September 19, 2012. Chad continues to deny the sensational allegations contained in the story published on August 3, 2012. He looks forward to having his day in court and telling his side of the story. He asks that the media and his fans remember that he has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
All questions regarding this matter may be directed to Jacob Flesher, Esq. at the law firm of Flesher, Broomand, McKague LLP in Sacramento, California.