Florida Court Rules Former GLORY Fighter Joe Schilling Acted in Self-Defense in Viral Bar Knockout

Apr 28, 2023
Joe Schilling lands a right hand against Simon Marcus. Photo: GLORY Kickboxing
Nearly two years after a bar incident, former GLORY Middleweight Tournament champion Joe Schilling has been cleared of all charges.

A Florida court ruled that Joe Schilling, 39, former GLORY fighter, acted in lawful self-defense under Florida law, following allegations of battery and negligence. 

"The court further finds that Schilling used only such force necessary to neutralize the threat, and is therefore entitled to immunity," court judge Fabienne E. Fahnestock declared.

On the night of June 27, 2021, alleged victim Justin Balboa was knocked unconscious after bumping into Joe Schilling at a bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After the video made rounds around the internet, Schilling accused Balboa of causing trouble at the bar, shouting racial slurs. 

As things escalated, Schilling saw no other way than to resort to violence, "As you can see from this video, when he flexed on me I was scared for my life and simply defended myself against the evil in this world."

After the incident, Balboa immediately sought legal help to represent him in a battery and negligence lawsuit against Schilling, suing both the fighter and the bar where the accident occurred in damages over $100,000. The lawsuit talked about Schilling's abilities as a fighter describing him as "uniquely skilled and trained to be brutally efficient and abnormally dangerous with his bare hands." 

Schilling filed for immunity under Florida's Stand Your Ground law - a person who lawfully defends oneself is immune from criminal prosecution and civil suit.

Orlando-based lawyer, David Katz, who represented Schilling, was happy with the verdict.

"This is a complete and total victory for Schilling who was widely criticized on social media after this incident occurred. It's also a lesson to those looking to make a quick buck by causing problems and claiming damages. Florida law protects those who are forced to protect themselves and their loved ones and our law firm is here to make sure those who are forced to defend themselves do not suffer further in our legal system either by wrongful arrest or wrongful civil actions such as this case."

After a highly successful career in GLORY, the American fighter competed in both Bellator Kickboxing and Bellator. He has been retired since being released from the promotion in October 2020.