Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Masvidal — who appeared via zoom — and his legal team entered a verbal plea of not guilty for Judge Zachary L. James at the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami on Thursday morning stemming from Masvidal’s alleged attack on Covington in Miami Beach, Fla., this past month.
The 37-year-old faces two separate felony charges related to the alleged attack against Covington. The more serious charge is the aggravated battery with a mask, which carries a potential prison sentence up to 15 years and/or a $10,000 fine. Police responded to a call and later stated in a report that the victim, who MMA Fighting identified as Covington, told authorities that he was leaving Papi Steak Restaurant when the alleged assailant ran up and punched him twice. Covington suffered a fractured tooth and an abrasion on his wrist from the assault.
Masvidal is also facing a felony criminal mischief charge after Covington told police that $15,000 worth of damage was done to a $90,000 Rolex that he was wearing during the altercation. In Florida, criminal mischief with damages over $1,000 is considered a third-degree felony. “Gamebred” was arrested a couple of days later, was released on $15,000 bond, and entered a written plea of not guilty, along with a demand for a trial by jury.
The attorney for the victim, who was known as “C.C.” throughout most of the proceedings, asked for the stay away order following the alleged assault on grounds that Masvidal didn’t appear before an actual judge for his initial hearing. Masvidal’s defense team was fine with the order, but wanted to make sure it wasn’t an egregious one. For example, if Masvidal was attending a UFC event, or Covington, that both could be allowed to stay as long as they are kept at a certain distance. Judge James granted the order with terms that he explained to Masvidal.
The order states that Masvidal must stay 25 feet away from Covington in all public places, or any vehicle the former interim champion may be traveling in, and 500 feet from Covington’s home. In addition, Masvidal may not contact Covington via phone, texting, social media, emails, or any other form of communication, or indirectly through a third party.
If the order is violated, the conditions of the release can be revisited.
While the victim in the case wasn’t to be publicly disclosed due to Marsy’s Law, Masvidal took seemed to take away Covington’s anonymity. When Judge James asked Masvidal if he had any additional questions, the 51-fight veteran made sure to make it count.
“Just to be clear, C.C. is Colby Covington,” Masvidal asked.
“Correct,” Judge James replied.
“Got it,” Masvidal added.
Covington — who defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 272 — was on the zoom call throughout the near 15-minute discussion, but didn’t speak.
Masvidal’s attorneys also plan to file motions to examine the alleged damages to Covington’s $90,000 Rolex that he was wearing during the altercation, along with past medical records. According to police documents, $15,000 worth of damage was done. The request asked that the evidence would be kept “status quo,” meaning that if the watch wasn’t altered since the incident, that it remains that way so that it can be examined.
As of now, a status hearing would be the next step and that is tentatively scheduled for May 12.