MMA fighter pleads no contest to assaulting fighter wife

HONOLULU — A Hawaii mixed martial arts fighter pleaded no contest Thursday to assaulting his wife, a fellow fighter who said he left her with a fractured eye socket.

Arnold Berdon is expected to be sentenced to probation.

His wife, Rachael Ostovich Berdon, filed for a temporary restraining order in November, alleging her husband punched her in the head, face and ribs. He punched her after a night out with family and she fell to the ground, gasped for air and escaped through a balcony, according to her petition for an order of protection. She said she coughed up blood and threw up several times.

Police arrested Berdon on a charge of second-degree attempted murder. Prosecutors later charged him with second-degree assault.

Judge Trisha Morikawa told Berdon, 28, he will likely avoid jail time if he does well in a domestic violence intervention program. “I’m going to do well,” he told the judge.

The maximum sentence is five years in prison.

Berdon said after the hearing that he decided to plead no contest to spare his family from a legal battle. He said he and his wife are divorcing. They have a daughter.

When asked about his future as an MMA fighter he said, “I’ll do whatever God wants me to do.”

Ostovich Berdon initially canceled a fight against Paige VanZant but later decided to go through with it, saying she was healing. A lawyer for Ostovich Berdon said he hadn’t heard about the plea and would ask her if she wanted to comment on it.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 16.

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This version of the story corrects the spelling of Rachael Ostovich Berdon.

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