Who is Justin Balboa? MMA fighter Joe Schilling knocks man out for allegedly hurling N-word

Police officer also spoke to the manager of the bar and he said that Justin Balboa 'is a regular customer who routinely causes problems'


                            Who is Justin Balboa? MMA fighter Joe Schilling knocks man out for allegedly hurling N-word
Joe Schilling shared a video of himself knocking out a bar patron in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Twitter)

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: Joe Schilling, a professional Muay Thai athlete and mixed martial artist who most recently competed for Bellator Kickboxing in the middleweight division and in the middleweight division for Bellator MMA, is potentially facing one misdemeanor charge of simple battery after an alleged altercation with a man at a Florida bar went viral.

The video, initially shared by Schilling on Instagram, showed the man, who is reportedly called Justin Balboa, dancing at a bar in Fort Lauderdale before Schilling bumped into him and pushed past. Balboa, 31, could be seen shouting something to get the professional fighter's attention. While news reports claimed Balboa worked at an Outback Steakhouse, a representative for the casual dining restaurant chain confirmed he was not an employee.

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The mixed martial artist then turned around and punched Balboa in the face twice, who subsequently collapsed to the floor of the bar, as other patrons screamed with shock. The incident reportedly took place on Sunday, June 27.

According to a police report, 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, speaking with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, “would not elaborate on how or why the male punched him,” according to the police report. Balboa also 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, who said 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.”



 

The police report further states that “numerous other patrons of the establishment corroborated the manager’s story,” stating that Balboa started the altercation. However, after the video went viral, Balboa contacted the Fort Lauderdale Police Department again, and on Monday, June 28, 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 said.

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



 

Casey Liening, a representative for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, said on Tuesday, June 29 that no charges had been formally filed by Balboa at the time. “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.”

Schilling reportedly released a statement in the aftermath of the incident: ‘Little context … this guy’s rapping like an idiot. The busboy, who happens to be Black, walks by and this idiot bumps into him and screams out: ‘Me and broke (N-word), we don’t get along.’ The busboy was seriously offended, but doesn’t want to lose his job."

He said, "As the night goes on, this clown starts looking at me… I go outside to smoke, as I’m walking back, he bumps into me. I put my hand out to catch him, he immediately says sorry. You can see me nod my head like cool. Then he realizes it’s the guy he’s been rapping at all night [and] yells, ‘hey.’ I turn around and he flexes on me … bad decisions are made every day.”

“The busboy and DJ came up to thank me,” he added. “As you can see from this video, when he flexed on me I was scared for my life and simply defending myself against the evil in this world.”

The MMA fighter also shared on Instagram a screenshot of a text conversation where an unnamed person wrote to him: “The guy you knocked out is my ex. He used [sic] physically abuse me on a regular basis. Thank you for sticking up for that busboy and for the closure you just gave me. I've been waiting eight years for karma to hit him straight in the face.”



 

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