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Joe Schilling potentially facing one charge of battery for alleged bar attack

E. Casey Leydon, MMA Fighting

Former Bellator fighter Joe Schilling is potentially facing one misdemeanor charge of simple battery after his alleged altercation with a man at a Florida bar went viral.

Schilling, 37, was caught on video knocking out a man who later identified himself as Justin Balboa on Sunday night at a bar in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. According to a police report obtained by MMA Fighting, Balboa told officers that he is a 31-year-old busboy who works at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant.

Representatives with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department initially made contact with Balboa on Sunday night. Balboa had a bloody lip and described Schilling as a 6-foot-5, 270-pound white male who “just hit him for no reason.” Balboa “would not elaborate on how or why the male punched him,” according to the police report, but was “obviously intoxicated.” That same night Balboa told officers that he “only wanted the incident documented in order to file a civil suit against the establishment.”

Officers also spoke to the manager of the bar on Sunday night. The manager stated that Balboa “was extremely intoxicated and had possibly made an improper remark about the girlfriend/wife of the male who had struck him, which caused the fight to escalate.” The manager also noted that Balboa “is a regular customer who routinely causes problems at the establishment due to his intoxication level.”

According to the police report, “numerous other patrons of the establishment corroborated the manager’s story,” stating that Balboa started the altercation.

Balboa subsequently spoke with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for a follow-up conversation on Monday after watching a video of his altercation with Schilling online. After seeing the video, Balboa told officers that he changed his mind and wished to prosecute Schilling for the alleged attack.

“It was something that should not have happened,” Balboa’s attorney, Robert Solomon, told MMA Fighting. “It should not have happened. You watch that video and you cringe. This is a professional fighter. To tell me you felt threatened as a professional fighter that’s fighting in the highest level of all the fighting, Bellator and all these things, I don’t buy it. I think it was uncalled for, and there’s consequences when you do things like that.

“I think a professional fighter overreacted to a situation, that he didn’t need to do what he did,” Solomon added, “and to punch somebody as hard as he punched this guy, he’s lucky he’s not dead and we’re dealing with a different type of case.”

Solomon said that Balboa went to the hospital following the incident. “He’s got, right now, a head injury,” Solomon said. “We don’t know the extent of it.”

MMA Fighting’s attempts to contact Schilling were unsuccessful. Schilling wrote on Instagram on Monday that he was “scared for his life” during the incident and was “simply defending myself against the evil in this world.”

Casey Liening, a representative for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, told MMA Fighting on Tuesday that no charges have been formally filed by Balboa at the time of this writing.

“As far as we’re concerned, the status of this case is on the victim’s shoulders right now,” Liening said. “He has to make the effort to file the case with the state attorney’s office, and then it’ll go from there.”

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