LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen is accused of attacking a couple visiting Las Vegas and four other people, and two people are speaking out after a felony battery by strangulation charge against the ex-fighter was dropped.
According to a report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), Sonnen assaulted the couple and four others on Dec. 18, and later told police he took an Ambien earlier in the day and didn’t remember what happened.
Julie and Christopher Stellpflug said Sonnen attacked them as they were walking to their hotel room at the Four Seasons.
He received five citations for battery, and it appears he was not taken to jail.
“I’m completely shocked. I’m extremely disappointed to learn of this news. I think for me, it just takes me back to that to that day,” Julie said. “Chris was watching me get beaten by him. I was watching him choke my husband. This is an individual that did this for a living, to beat people into submission.”
They said they were both diagnosed with concussions, and Julie said Sonnen split her lip open. Christopher said he still had marks around his neck a few days after the alleged attack.
“It was incredibly violent. For us, for me anyway, it is the most traumatizing experience I’ve ever had,” Julie continued.
Initially, the Clark County District Attorney charged Sonnen with felony battery by strangulation along with 10 misdemeanor battery counts. But in an amended complaint filed by prosecutors in court Wednesday, Sonnen now only faces six misdemeanor battery charges.
Misdemeanor counts carry a maximum prison sentence of six months,.
Attorney Kory Kaplan is representing the Stellpflugs, who live in California.
“They object to the reduction of charges. They were never consulted by the DA’s office,” Kaplan said. “I got a call and said we’re reducing it back down to misdemeanor and we’re gonna file the motion.”
Attorney Dayvid Figler is representing Sonnen, who, he said, lives out of state.
“I commend the district attorney for taking a look, checking their own work. This is the check and balance system in the criminal justice system and today it worked,” said Figler.
The Stellpflugs said the criminal justice system failed them and are now suing Sonnen in civil court.
“The take-home message from this morning was basically don’t go to Vegas and get involved in an incident with a celebrity, because the criminal justice is not there for you,” Christopher told 8 News Now. “It feels just like we’re being re-victimized in the hallway and I’m watching this monster beat my wife all over again. He needs some sort of repercussions for his actions.”
The 8 News Now I-Team reached out to Metro police and the Clark County District Attorney’s office. Police said Sonnen was cited at the scene due to it being a misdemeanor battery that did not occur in police presence. The assistant district attorney told the I-Team that police and prosecutors reviewed witness statements, medical documents, and photos, and concluded that it did not rise to the level of a felony.
The assistant district attorney strongly disputed that Sonnen is getting special treatment.
The next date for Sonnen’s criminal case is set for April 27.