In the history of random people trying (or fake-trying) professional fighters on the street, the average observer is still somehow usually surprised at how quickly it goes bad.
But we can suppose that all bets are off when you’re drunk.
A 31-year-old man from Fort Lauderdale named Justin Balboa was “obviously intoxicated,” according to police, when he was at a bar and leaned into 37-year-old Joe Schilling, a 23-9 Muay Thai kickboxer and 4-6 mixed martial artist who formerly competed in Bellator, the second-largest MMA promotion in the country behind UFC. To the hypnotic and joyous tune of “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, and Kurupt, Schilling began walking away, but turned back around when Balboa appeared to initiate a confrontation. Balboa then seemingly began to pantomime a strike, and before he could complete his motion, the well-trained Schilling reflexively landed a short right hook, followed by a left, which knocked out the abrasive Florida Man who works as a busboy at an Outback Steakhouse.
Video was captured of the incident.
According to reporting from mmafighting.com, Balboa informed officers that he “only wanted the incident documented in order to file a civil suit against the establishment.” Additionally, the manager of the bar told officers that Balboa “was extremely intoxicated and had possibly made an improper remark about the girlfriend/wife of the male who had struck him, which caused the fight to escalate.”
The manager also noted that Balboa “is a regular customer who routinely causes problems at the establishment due to his intoxication level.”
Schilling, whose Instagram bio features a link to a website called “cantstopcrazy.com,” has since posted about the incident on social media. One post was captioned “7 billion people in this world, and you chose me.” Another posting was of a direct message he received from a person purporting to be Balboa’s alleged ex-girlfriend, who thanked Schilling for knocking him out.
He also wrote a since-deleted post containing a longer account of the confrontation, in which he claimed self-defense, Yahoo reported.
“Little context: This guy’s rapping like an idiot,” Schilling wrote on IG. “The busboy who happens to be Black walks by, and this idiot bumps into him and screams out, ‘Me and broke n****s, we don’t get along.’ The busboy was seriously offended but doesn’t want to lose his job. As the night goes on, this clown starts looking at me and rapping whatever song is being played while making eye contact with me. I’m like, what’s wrong with this idiot? I go outside to smoke, and as I’m walking back in, he bumps into me. I put my hand out to catch him. He immediately says ‘I’m sorry.’ You can see me nod my head like, cool.
“Then he realizes it’s me, the guy he’s been rapping at all night, and yells, ‘HEY.’ I turn around, and he flexes on me. … Bad decisions are made every day. I went back and sat down to finish my drink and pay my bill. Two servers, the busboy and DJ came up to thank me. As you can see from this video when he flexed on me, I was scared for my life and simply defending myself against the evil in this world.”
In the aforementioned MMA Fighting story, Balboa’s attorney, Robert Solomon, blamed Schilling — who hasn’t yet been charged criminally, but could face a battery misdemeanor — for escalating the encounter.
“It was something that should not have happened,” Solomon said. “It should not have happened. You watch that video and you cringe. This is a professional fighter. To tell me you felt threatened as a professional fighter that’s fighting in the highest level of all the fighting, Bellator and all these things, I don’t buy it. I think it was uncalled for, and there’s consequences when you do things like that.
“I think a professional fighter overreacted to a situation, that he didn’t need to do what he did,” Solomon added. “And to punch somebody as hard as he punched this guy, he’s lucky he’s not dead and we’re dealing with a different type of case.”
Solomon also noted that Balboa suffered a head injury and was sent to the hospital that night.
Balboa, to our knowledge, has no relation to former American soccer star Marcelo Balboa, 16th-century Spanish conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean, nor Rocky Balboa, a fictional character who is much better at fighting.