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Chael Sonnen allegedly choked, struck man, left woman ‘tasting blood in her mouth’ after assault: lawsuit

Chael Sonnen
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Chael Sonnen is accused of viciously attacking a couple during an alleged incident on Dec. 18 that’s the subject of a battery lawsuit.

Dr. Christopher Stellpflug and Julie Stellpflug say the three-time UFC title challenger and MMA commentator blindsided them during the alleged attack at Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, leaving multiple injuries that included concussions for both. The San Luis Obisbo, Calif., couple is suing the 44-year-old Oregon native in excess of $15,000 for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to the suit obtained by MMA Fighting.

Dr. Stellpflug said he was severely traumatized by the incident, telling the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Am I going to die? Is this monster going to kill my wife next, and my kids will have no parents?” His wife said she is “still very shaken up, and emotional, and still quite terrified actually.”

Sonnen, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is due in court on April 30, per the LVRJ, which first reported the lawsuit.

Earlier this month, Sonnen was hit with a felony battery by strangulation charge and 10 misdemeanor battery charges after five misdemeanor battery charges were dismissed without prejudice. The new charges upped the potential penalties for the retired fighter, who has yet to comment on the alleged incident.

The lawsuit, filed March 25 in Clark County (Nevada) District Court, sheds light on two of the alleged victims’ side of the story. Dr. Stellpflug and his wife say they were on their way to their hotel room around 7:30 in a hallway of the Four Seasons when they encountered a man they later learned was Sonnen, whom they said “appeared to be intoxicated,” wearing “a torn bloody shirt” around his neck with no shoes or socks, and “uttering unintelligible noises.” They attempted to avoid him by moving to the other side of the hallway, but said “without provocation or any communication whatsoever,” they allege Sonnen knocked a beverage out of Dr. Stellpflug’s hand.

Julie Stellpflug stepped closer to Sonnen and tried to defuse the situation, but according to the suit, the fighter allegedly “proceeded to viciously attack Dr. Stellpflug, punching him multiple times in the head with a closed fist.” She screamed for help and attempted to intervene, prompting a hotel guest in a neighboring room to come to her aid as Sonnen allegedly continued to attack Christopher Stellpflug, putting him in a chokehold that caused him “to lose his breath for several seconds,” per the suit.

When the hotel guest freed Christopher Stellpflug, Sonnen allegedly began elbowing him. Christopher Stellpflug allegedly then witnessed Sonnen attack his wife, punching her in the face multiple times with an open fist, leaving her with a split lip, according to the lawsuit. Sonnen then threw her against a wall, causing her to hit a light fixture, and she “slid down the wall, tasting blood in her mouth as she fell to the floor.” Sonnen tried to lift her again, but Christopher Stellpflug was able to stop him by grabbing onto her ankle.

The complaint then states security arrived and was immediately attacked by Sonnen, who allegedly punched multiple guards with a closed fist, bloodied a downed guard’s nose with a knee, and kicked another in the chest.

The plaintiffs also allege that unbeknownst to them, Sonnen had already assaulted another hotel guest, striking him in the jaw randomly. The guest retreated to his room and called security.

Per the LVRJ, Dr. Stellpflug decided to come forward with his story after hearing former UFC fighter-turned-media personality Brendan Schaub claim that the alleged attack was the result of “some drunk guy” insulting Sonnen’s wife, Brittany Sonnen.

A police incident report obtained by the LVRJ stated that Brittany Sonnen told police she had taken an Ambien (sleep aid) in the early morning hours of Dec. 18 and allegedly was asleep “for the entirety of the brawl.” A police officer noted that she appeared to be injured and asked about a potential domestic dispute, but she reportedly said she was unaware of how the injuries occurred and added her husband never got physical with her. The officer reportedly did not further document Brittany Sonnen’s injuries or elaborate on them in the report.

Dr. Stellpflug told the LVRJ he wanted “the truth out there” for people who think the attack was motivated.

“I just want people to know it was a totally unprovoked attack,” he said. “We were just walking into our room to plan a sushi dinner. We did nothing wrong, and this guy went on a crazy rampage.”

Sonnen retired from MMA in 2019 and has served as a regular MMA analyst for Bellator and UFC. The UFC’s broadcast partner, ESPN, has suspended him from broadcasts “as we explore the details of these serious charges,” the network told

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