Joe “Stich ‘Em Up” Schilling, a former MMA fighter, was cleared of battery charges stemming from a Florida bar fight in 2021. The court ruled that Schilling acted in self-defense in the bar fight caught on viral video.
Video of Schilling socking Justin Balboa at a Fort Lauderdale bar went viral in 2021.
Video shows Balboa standing in the walkway of the bar when Schilling attempts to walk around him. Schilling places his hands on Balboa to prevent him from swaying into him. Balboa seemingly says something to Schilling – which causes him to turn around. Balboa is seen on video making a move with his shoulders. Schilling immediately responded with a lightning-quick right-hand punch followed by a swing by his left hand.
Balboa instantly falls to the ground and is motionless.
Balboa said he suffered a head injury from the attack, and filed a battery charge against Schilling.
Schilling, 39, argued that Balboa “flexed” on him and he reacted in self-defense because he was “scared” for his life, according to Fox News.
Last June, Schilling filed for immunity under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
This week, the court dismissed the battery charge against Schilling.
Broward County Circuit Court Judge Fabienne E. Fahnestock stated, “Schilling stepped outside to smoke. When he was returning to his table, Balboa, who was admittedly intoxicated at that point, stumbled into Schilling. The video … shows that Balboa apologized without looking at Schilling, and Schilling acknowledged the apology while continuing to walk back to his table. For some undetermined reason, Balboa calls out to Schilling.”
“Schilling turns around and looks at Balboa in an unaggressive stance. Schilling’s feet were shoulder width apart and his hands were at his side,” Fahnestock added. “Balboa makes a feinting gesture towards Schilling. Schilling, who testified that he learned to anticipate punches as part of his training, instantly responded with two quick punches. Balboa fell to the floor unconscious.”
“The Court further finds that Schilling used only such force necessary to neutralize the threat, and is therefore entitled to immunity pursuant to §776.032, Florida Statute,” Fahnestock continued.
“Defendant is entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by defendant in defense of this action pursuant to §776.032(3), Fla. Stat,” the judge concluded.
Schilling told the MMA Fighting website, “I’m glad it’s finally over. For the last two years, my name and character has been disparaged in the media. Seems like everyone loves the narrative that a professional fighter just beat up an innocent person, which was sooooo not the case.”
“Most people told me to just settle it and pay off as that would be easier. I don’t like bully’s (sic) and I refuse to be bullied by anyone,” the fighter said. “The ambulance-chasing bum of a lawyer he hired threatened to ruin me financially and well the only person he financially ruined was his client.”
Schilling slammed the media for bias against him.
Schilling said, “I just hope that all of the news outlets that were so quick to post click bait articles assassinating my character have the same energy now that the truth is out. Justin Balboa will always be a f***ing loser.”
Schilling’s attorney David Katz declared that Balboa now owes his client’s legal fees.
“Balboa now stands liable for all of Schilling’s costs and fees for defending this lawsuit, including the trips he had to make from California and the hiring of investigators and experts,” Katz proclaimed.
Katz said, “Florida law protects those who are forced to protect themselves and their loved ones, and our law firm is here to make sure those who are forced to defend themselves do not suffer further in our legal system either by wrongful arrest or wrongful civil actions such as this case.”
Balboa had sought damages of up to $30,000.
(WARNING: Graphic video)
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