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Former UFC, Strikeforce & Bellator heavyweight headed to prison

Lavar Johnson

Former UFC, Bellator, and Strikeforce heavyweight Lavar "Big" Johnson was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday stemming from an August arrest on domestic battery charges.

Based on an incident on August 11, Johnson was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/co-habitant, assault likely to produce great bodily harm, dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, and dissuading a witness by force.

He was charged with punching, kneeing, and slamming his girlfriend's head on the ground and the wall. Johnson told the judge he was ashamed and embarrassed about the ending of the seven-year relationship, and had friends speak and write for him to try and get the sentenced reduced.

Judge Glenda Allen-Hill wasn't moved by the testimony, pointing to the severity of the beating and also that it wasn't a first time occurrence as Johnson was sentenced to 14 days in jail and three years probation and forced to undergo alcohol counseling after a 2007 incident with a different girlfriend. He was also jailed for 30 days for criminal threats and disobeying a domestic relations order.

Hill noted that he could have stopped and not inflicted so much damage on his victim, but he did not stop.

Johnson (18-10) was noted for having a great physical similarity (and same last name) to Dwayne Johnson as he's 6-foot-4, 255 pounds bald, muscular, and with similar tattoos. He was known as a "kill or be killed" heavyweight as in his 28 pro fights, only one went the distance, a UFC fight with Brendan Schaub where Schaub took him down and held him down for three rounds.

Over the last six years, Johnson had 11 pro fights (4-11), nine of which ended in the first round. He came to the UFC in 2012 when UFC brought all the Strikeforce heavyweights into the promotion and went 2-2 in four fights, cut after the loss to Schaub.

He was signed by Bellator and had lost three of his last four fights with his last fight on September 5, 2014.