California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster confirmed Velasquez’s license to ESPN. Velasquez, 40, is currently out on $1 million bail as he awaits a criminal trial on attempted murder and gun-related charges in Santa Clara, California. MMAFighting.com first reported the news.
It will mark Velasquez’s first licensed appearance at a mixed martial arts contest since he was charged with attempted murder in March 2022. Velasquez is being accused of chasing down a man, Harry Goularte, in his vehicle and shooting at him. Goularte is being charged with sexually assaulting Velasquez’s young son at a day care center.
Velasquez, who also wrestled at Arizona State University prior to a successful UFC career, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in August. He spent eight months in jail in 2022 before being granted bail. Velasquez allegedly chased down and shot at Goularte and his step-father, Paul Bender, in their vehicle. Bender was hit with a bullet but did not sustain serious injury.
Velasquez (14-3) was one of the most respected athletes in the UFC during his peak between 2010 and 2013. He won the UFC’s heavyweight championship in a dominant performance against Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 in October 2010, and went on to become a two-time champion. He retired from the sport in 2019.
He continues to coach at MMA powerhouse American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0) is the younger brother of retired lightweight champion Khabib, and is considered one of the best fighters currently competing outside of the UFC. He defends his title against Brent Primus (12-3) in the main event of Bellator 300 inside Pechanga Arena.