The UFC's third-party investigation into Julianna Pena's assault case has concluded and the women's bantamweight fighter is eligible to return to the Octagon.
In a statement released Monday, the UFC said its law firm Campbell & Williams has looked into Pena's December arrest on two counts of assault. During the investigation, the UFC decided not to book Pena in any fights.
Pena, 26, will have a fight announced shortly, the statement said. The former Ultimate Fighter winner has also agreed to participate in counseling as a "condition for her return."
Last week, MMA Fighting reported that Pena was granted a stipulation order of continuance in her assault case by a judge in Spokane (Wash.) Municipal Court. In one year, if Pena has no other incidents the misdemeanor charges will be dismissed.
Pena was accused of kicking two bar employees in the groin area in the aftermath of a street fight. The fighter said she was attempting to get care for her friend and training partner Joshua Gow, who was injured and bleeding from the face after a fight outside another bar. Pena took Gow to a bar around the corner to get him cleaned up and the two were denied entry, causing a skirmish.
"The circumstances that led Julianna into the bar were that she was seeking medical attention for her friend," Pena's attorney Carl Oreskovich told MMA Fighting. "When it was denied, she reacted. Pretty simple. And things got out of control. I think there was some bad judgment all around."
The UFC's full statement is below:
UFC announced today that an investigation into allegations of assault by UFC competitor Julianna Pena is now complete. Pena recently came to a resolution with the Prosecutor's Office in Spokane County, Washington. The resolution was thoroughly reviewed by Campbell & Williams, a Las Vegas-based law firm hired by UFC to oversee its investigation into the matter.
UFC elected not to schedule Pena for a bout while the legal proceedings were ongoing. Now that the matter has been resolved, Pena is eligible to return to competition in the UFC and will be scheduled for a bout in the near future.
While UFC is supportive of the resolution of Pena's criminal matter, Pena acknowledges that her actions as a professional athlete should reflect well of her, the sport of mixed martial arts, and the UFC. Consequently, Pena has volunteered to participate in counseling as a condition for her return to the Octagon.
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