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Valentina Shevchenko releases statement on being caught in shootout crossfire

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Valentina Shevchenko says her coach might have saved her life and his own as well.

The UFC women's bantamweight contender's coach Pavel Fedotov was shot in a chaotic shootout with robbers at a restaurant in Peru on Sunday night. Shevchenko was also present at the restaurant and rushed to Fedotov's side in the aftermath.

Shevchenko released her first public comments Wednesday on social media. She wrote that Fedotov only began shooting at the robbers when they came closer to their table. Shevchenko said that if the robbers saw her coach's gun, they might have assumed he was a cop and the situation could have escalated. Shevchenko was unharmed in the shootout.

"The Act of Pavel was not only in self-defense, but also the defense of my life and also of the people who were by my side!" Shevchenko wrote.

Fedotov opened fire on the thieves, shooting and killing one of them. Fedotov was hit by a bullet himself and he is now recovering in the hospital. Another customer was also shot, by one of the robbers, and she is also expected to make a full recovery.

The men attempted to rob a chicken restaurant where Shevchenko and Fedotov were eating. They also assaulted and battered customers in order to steal their belongings.

The story was first reported by Comercio. The incident was captured on a security camera with footage here.

Here is Shevchenko's full statement:

Thank you so much dear friends for all the moral support in this very hard time that I and my family are going through!

On Sunday my coach master Pavel risked his life to defend me and the people that I was having dinner at the local restaurant.

I was at the back of the restaurant, and I've seen how the thieves went from table to table hitting the diners and snatching their belongings without anyone being able to help them. When they were getting closer towards our table, Pavel acted very determined and bravely.

If criminals would have found the gun he was carrying they would have thought that he was a cop, and very likely that they would have killed him with his own gun.

The Act of Pavel was not only in self-defense, but also the defense of my life and also of the people who were by my side!

Now Pavel is recovering thanks to God!

Shevchenko, 28, fights Holly Holm in the main event of UFC on FOX 20 on July 23 in Chicago. The Kyrgyzstan native moved to Peru with Fedotov, her longtime coach, and her sister Antonina in 2008.