As middleweight champion Michael Bisping closes in on his highest-profile fight of his career against Georges St-Pierre on Nov. 4 at UFC 217 inside New York's Madison Square Garden, an alleged altercation outside the Octagon is pulling away some of his attention.
A lawsuit was filed against the 38-year-old Bisping on Monday in Orange County, California, alleging he choked a 19-year-old college student on July 31 during an argument at a 24 Hour Fitness. Multiple outlets confirmed the original report from TMZ on Wednesday.
According to the complaint written by attorney Gavril T. Gabriel, the plaintiff, Antonio Georgakopoulos, was working out with a friend when he was confronted by Bisping for taking his weights. Bisping allegedly called Georgakopoulos an "idiot" and "little punk" before the British fighter said, "You don't know who I am!"
The plaintiff alleged that Bisping extended his right arm to squeeze his neck "for two to three seconds," not allowing him to breathe. After "a larger man" broke up the skirmish, Bisping asked to take it outside. Members of the gym's staff then stepped in to separate the parties and call the authorities.
The complaint stated that Anaheim Police issued a private persons arrest form for assault and battery to Bisping, but the department's public information office told multiple outlets this week that no arrest was made. Although Bisipng had allegedly left the gym by the time police arrived, Sgt. Daron Wyatt told ESPN he "fully cooperated with the investigation."
The initial complaint was reviewed by City Attorney's office, according to Wyatt, where it was determined there wasn't enough evidence to to file criminal charges.
As a result of Bisping's actions, Georgakopolous had "intense throat pain" the next day and saw a specialist. The complaint also stated the plaintiff had "nightmares, difficulty sleeping and anxiety," and further accuses Bisping of "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
Along with Bisping and UFC parent company WME-IMG, 24 Hour Fitness was also named in the complaint for vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligence-premises liability.