Former UFC, Bellator, and Strikeforce fighter Lavar Johnson was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison for domestic violence.
A Fresno County judge Glenda Allen-Hill sentenced Johnson for the charges stemming from a domestic violence incident perpetrated on his girlfriend of seven years on Aug. 11, 2015, according to ABC 30 Action News in Fresno, Calif.
Johnson reportedly slammed his girlfriend against a wall and to the ground before kneeing her in the face and striking her multiple times with a closed fist.
Although Johnson’s attorney argued that Johnson’s actions were out of character and occurred when he was drunk and upset about his girlfriend allegedly tracking him with GPS, the judge did not relent. Johnson had hoped for a three-year sentence, but Judge Allen-Hill went with the five-year sentence due to the circumstances of the offense.
“It does appear there were times when Mr. Johnson could have stopped this offense,” said the judge in addressing the court. “That he could have not inflicted the amount of damage that he inflicted on his victim, but he did not.”
Johnson made his professional fighting debut in the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) in January 2004. He competed under the Strikeforce banner from 2009 until 2011, before making his way to the UFC. He was released by the organization in 2013 after testing positive to elevated levels of testosterone following his UFC 157 loss to Brendan Schaub.
Johnson was quickly picked up by Bellator MMA and fought four times with the fight promotion. He was released by Bellator in March of 2015 after losing back-to-back bouts. He last competed at Bellator 123 in September 2014, losing to Cheick Kongo by rear-naked choke.