Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is facing an attempted murder charge. Velasquez was arrested in San Jose, California, on Monday night after allegedly shooting someone, the San Jose Police Department confirmed in a statement.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Velasquez opened fire on a vehicle that was carrying a man who was recently charged with molesting a close relative of the former champion. The person hit by the bullets was the stepfather of the accused and is expected to survive his injuries, according to police.
Velasquez is being held without bail at the Santa Clara County jail and set for arraignment on Wednesday.
“The motive and circumstances surrounding this incident are still under investigation at this time,” the statement read.
Velasquez (14-3) has long been considered among MMA’s greatest heavyweights, a distinction he may have held on his own if not for multiple injuries that derailed his career. Velasquez went on a perfect 9-0 run, including a first-round knockout of Pride and UFC legend Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, to capture the UFC heavyweight championship by defeating Brock Lesnar via first-round TKO. He stumbled in his first title defense against Junior dos Santos, but he reclaimed the championship against dos Santos and defeated his rival in their trilogy bout.
Velasquez suffered from repeated knee injuries, including in his last MMA fight, significantly derailing his momentum and prime years as a fighter. He only fought three times between Oct. 20, 2013, and Feb. 17, 2019. Velasquez officially retired from MMA on Oct. 19, 2019, in the aftermath of a quick knockout loss to Francis Ngannou.
The American fighter of Mexican descent subsequently transitioned to pro-wrestling, making his debut for Mexico-based organization Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. Velasquez had a brief stint in the WWE, entering a brief program with UFC foe Brock Lesnar. The feud culminated at the 2019 Crown Jewel event. Lesnar successfully defended his WWE Championship against Velasquez in a short, one-sided match.
Velasquez was also an NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestler in college, placing fourth at the 2006 NCAA Championship and fifth in 2005.
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