Colorado Police Arrest MMA Fighter Josh Copeland Following Alleged Domestic Violence Incident

Josh Copeland, 36, allegedly punched his wife on Feb. 2, leaving a mark beneath her left eye

PFL 4 Mixed Martial Arts, Uniondale, USA - 19 Jul 2018
Photo: Gregory Payan/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A professional mixed martial arts fighter is facing criminal charges in Colorado after allegedly punching his wife in the face during an argument about their young son that police claim unfolded before the boy, PEOPLE confirms.

Josh Copeland, 36, a former UFC fighter who was recently affiliated with the Professional Fighting League, was arrested on Feb. 2 on second-degree assault, domestic violence and child abuse charges after allegedly striking his wife following a shoving match between the two.

The criminal complaint against Copeland, obtained by PEOPLE, alleges that when police arrived at the couple’s residence in Thornton, they were met by his wife, who had “an obvious bruise on her left eye, a cut and was bleeding.”

The complaint further alleges “there was blood down the front of her face and neck.”

Copeland’s wife allegedly told police an argument that evening over “their son’s nutrition” escalated into shoving.

The victim, who is not named in the complaint, alleges Copeland — who stands 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 265 lbs. — followed her upstairs as she went to put their son to bed. She further claimed Copeland initiated the shoving, and that she shoved him back, only to be thrown to the floor.

“She got up and pushed Joshua again,” the complaint reads. “[The victim] said Joshua pushed her to the ground again, so she slapped Joshua in the face. [The victim] said Joshua blocked her from leaving [their son’s] room and she slapped him again. [The victim] said Joshua then punched her in the face.”

Josh CopelandCredit: Adams County Sheriff’s Office
Josh Copeland. Adams County Sheriff’s Office

The heavily redacted complaint continues: “[The victim] said Joshua then threw her on [their son’s] bed. [The victim] said [their son] was in the room and in close proximity while the fight occurred.”

Copeland’s wife also said, “The punch hurt and the cut under her left eye was a direct result of the punch.”

According to the complaint, Copeland allegedly acknowledged arguing with his wife, and recalled the shoving and slapping, but “did not remember his response to [the victim] slapping him, only that he carried [the victim] down the stairs and out of the house.”

The complaint notes Copeland had “redness and some blood on the left side of his face.”

According to investigators, Copeland — known as “Cuddly Bear” to MMA fans — was later searched and his wife’s cell phone turned up in his pocket.

An additional charge — obstruction of a telephone or telegraph service — was filed, as police allege Copeland took the phone to prevent his wife from phoning the authorities.

It was unclear Tuesday if Copeland had entered pleas to the charges he faces, or whether he is represented by a defense attorney who could comment on the allegations.

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Attempts to reach him online were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The Professional Fighting League did issue a statement in the wake of his arrest, which only just came to light.

“The PFL has zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence,” the statement reads. “Per our company policy, following his arrest, Josh Copeland has been suspended indefinitely.”

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