Former UFC and Bellator heavyweight Lavar Johnson (18-10) will return to fighting on Saturday’s Valor Bare Knuckle event against UFC fighter James McSweeney (15-18).
Johnson contested for the UFC between 2012 and 2013 before joining Bellator, who he fought for until 2014. The 42-year-old was arrested in August of 2015 following a ruthless attack on his then-girlfriend of seven years.
At trial, Johnson altered his plea from not guilty to no contest on the charge of ‘corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant’ pursuant to California Penal Code 273.5(a). As a result, several other charges against Johnson, including assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, and dissuading a witness by force, were dismissed.
Johnson was sentenced to five years in state prison, though the Madera, California, native has been released following the completion of the first three years of his term.
Johnson will resume his career after five years at the inaugural Valor Bare Knuckle event, a bare-knuckle boxing show promoted by UFC legend Ken Shamrock. Johnson will face James McSweeney, 38-year-old, who has lost his last five MMA fights, three of which came by knockout. The English MMA artist and kick boxer has lost 7 of his last 10, dating back to 2014.
Johnson and McSweeney are ready to compete on the event’s main card, which takes place on pay-per-view.