[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Former UFC fighter Phil Baroni has been arrested by police in the Mexican state of Nayarit after allegedly assaulting and killing his girlfriend at a hotel in the area.
According to Mexican news outlet Tribuna de la Bahia, the ex-MMA grappler (pictured above, alongside a shot taken during a fight from 2018) was arrested on Sunday in the town of San Pancho. He had contacted the local Policía Estatal Turística earlier that day and informed them his girlfriend was unconscious in their room at the Jardín San Pancho Hotel.
When police arrived, they found the woman — who is identified in media reports only as Paola — naked and lying on the bed. She had been covered with a blanket. As police pulled the blanket off, she reportedly showed signs of bruising on her face and body. Cops now believe she was allegedly struck “multiple times” prior to being found. Sadly, she showed no vital signs when police arrived, and she was pronounced dead.
Cops immediately questioned the 46-year-old Baroni. He told them the couple had been drinking beer and smoking marijuana together. At some point, Baroni reportedly claimed, Paola revealed she’d had an affair with another man. The ex-UFC fighter then apparently told Paola to get in the shower, which she refused. Then, the report claims, Baroni allegedly grabbed the woman and “threw” her into the shower. She hit her forehead inside the shower, then hit the back of her head on the tub upon falling down.
At that point, Baroni claimed to cops that the woman complained of being cold. So, he helped her out of the shower and wrapped her in a blanket on the bed. He then left the room to smoke a cigarette. When he returned, he apparently thought she was sleeping. Later, he determined she was actually unconscious.
As TMZ noted, while cops questioned Baroni, they “reportedly noticed his hands were red.” They took photographs documenting the possible injuries while investigating the crime scene. You can see (SFW) pics from the officers’ investigation of Baroni’s reddened hands at the scene HERE.
Now, per the outlet, Baroni has been arrested and charged with murder. He is currently in jail in Nayarit as police continue to investigate the woman’s death. Authorities are reportedly planning to conduct an autopsy on the woman’s body this week.
Baroni competed for two decades in various professional mixed martial arts competitions. Active from 2000 through 2019, he fought for the UFC, Pride FC, Bellator, Strikeforce, and more. According to MMA Junkie, the “New York Bad Ass,” as he was known, rose to prominence in the early 2000s. In that era, he competed for the sport’s ONE Championship and other prizes. In his prime, Baroni fought against some of MMA’s most high-profile fighters. That outlet notes his last professional fight came in September 2019.
We send our condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of the woman who perished in this awful incident. Here’s hoping police can quickly and decisively figure out what happened and get justice for her.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to https://www.thehotline.org/.