A professional fighter’s UFC dreams have been dashed after he roughed up a bar patron when he was working as an RSA officer at a Toorak bar.
Benjamin Sosoli, who fights under the name Combat Wombat, fractured a troublemaking patron’s jaw on both sides about 2.20am on September 8, 2019, when he was assisting security guards at Jacksons Lounge Bar’s Sounds of Africa night.
He pleaded guilty to one count of recklessly cause injury.
Benjamin Sosoli’s UFC career may be over after he shattered a bar patron’s jaw. Picture: YouTubeSource:YouTube
The County Court of Victoria heard on Thursday the patron had been refused entry but jumped the rope and slipped past security guards twice.
He was ejected each time before Sosoli walked him backwards around the corner and threw him onto the ground, punching his jaw in the process, prosecutor Jordan O’Toole said.
The 30-year-old’s lawyer, Zarah Garde-Wilson, told the court the intoxicated patron had threatened to stab security personnel multiple times and Sosoli didn’t know if he had a weapon.
He also hit Sosoli in the arm and face, cutting his lip, while being walked backwards before Sosoli hit him, she said.
Benjamin Sosoli fights professionally under the name Combat Wombat. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied
Mr O’Toole said the punch fractured the victim’s jawbone on both sides of his face, fractured three teeth, and left him only able to eat pureed food for six weeks after surgery.
A doctor called the injuries “severe” and said there was a “risk that the bone fractures will not heal”, he said.
In an Uber home the victim’s “mouth began to swell dramatically from both sides of his face” and bled as shock set in, Mr O’Toole said.
Sosoli had signed a coveted contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship only weeks before the incident took place — but the UFC will have to tear it up if he is put behind bars, Ms Garde-Wilson said.
“(He was) trying to get into the UFC for many, many years,” she said.
“This conviction and the penalty related to this will likely end his career.”
He had seven professional wins and two losses and starred in the reality TV series ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters’.
Ms Garde-Wilson told the court he was a combat wombat in more than just name.
“He’s considered a very caring, humble, and generous being – quite a contrast to the majority of fighters,” she said.
Benjamin Sosoli (right) pleaded guilty to recklessly cause injury. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied
There’s usually a sense of bravado – this man is not of that nature, he is extremely respectful of his opponents.”
He has five children and is a “devoted” father, Ms Garde-Wilson said.
She told the court he had opened his “home and heart” to a close friend who was put into a coma after a fighting injury.
But Judge Gavan Meredith said he was “highly trained and highly skilled” and “would have been well aware of the potential consequences of such a punch”.
He is considering Sosoli’s sentence.
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