Retired MMA fighter Phil Baroni could face even more serious consequences than previously thought if convicted for attempted murder in Nayarit, Mexico.
That’s according to ESPN.com, which reported on Wednesday that Baroni could be sentenced to between 50 and 75 years in prison for “aggravated femicide,” the charge made against him after police found dead a woman said to be the ex-UFC fighter’s girlfriend.
Baroni initially was thought to face a potential sentence of 30 to 50 years, ESPN reported. But a Nayarit prosecutor said the ex-UFC fighter’s skills could be used against him in court to enhance the potential punishment.
According to ESPN.com, Baroni initially told police the woman hit her head when he pushed her into the shower during an argument and later found her unconscious after stepping out for beer and cigarettes. Police allegedly found 37 separate injuries on the woman — characterized as “from head to toes” — that contradicted Baroni’s account and charged him with murder.
In court, the victim’s sister testified she saw bruises and hematomas and told her sister to report Baroni to the police, according to the report. But the alleged victim feared a violent reprisal, per the report. Neighbors also testified to Baroni’s “violent temper.”
Baroni has retained a private attorney after initially being represented in court by a public defender. Prosecutors say he can reduce his potential sentence by 25 percent with a guilty plea; they plan to fight his extradition to the U.S. due to the seriousness of the crime.
A judge on Monday called for a six-month period of discovery to investigate the charge against Baroni, per ESPN.com. Baroni will remain in a Mexico state jail while his case is pending but could be transferred to a federal facility.
ESPN.com reporter Carlos Contreras Legaspi said prosecutors now seek harsher sentences in “femicide” cases to deter violence against women.
LATEST UPDATE on the Phil Baroni case (Thread)— Carlos Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) January 11, 2023
State of Nayarit's General Prosecutor tells me that the "aggravated femicide" sentence can go from 50 to 75 years because it's evident that he used his "pro fighter skills" to cause injury on the victim. At least 37.
The Public Ministry office has ruled out Phil Baroni's version of the single shove on the bathtub, because the victim shows signs of violence all over her body: "From head to toes". Evidence has ben delivered to the judge— Carlos Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) January 11, 2023
Phil has now a private attorney, if he declares guilty, the process can start now and his sentence can be reduced by 25 percent. He has the right to be extradited to the US but is something that the State of Nayarit authority will oppose due to the circumstances of the crime— Carlos Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) January 11, 2023
The sister of the victim testified that she showed bruises and hematomas on her arms and other body parts in the past. When her family recommended her go to the authorities she told them she was afraid of a violent reaction. Neighbors also testified on his "violent temper"— Carlos Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) January 11, 2023
Phil will remain imprisoned at the Venustiano Carranza State Jail (CERESO) but could be moved to El Rincon Federal Prison (CEFERESO) if they considered it necessary.— Carlos Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) January 11, 2023
Baroni, a 19-year MMA vet, retired in 2019 after competing for all of the biggest promotions in the sport, including the UFC, PRIDE, Strikeforce, Bellator and ONE Championship.