By Julietta Bisharyan
SACRAMENTO – Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Matthew Betzold, accused of beating up a woman and threatening to kill her, is being held on $500,000 bail here after a hearing in Sacramento Superior Court Monday.
Coincidentally, in Iowa on Monday, a former MMA fighter, Alex Rozman, was arrested for a hammer and glass attack on two women—one jumped from a second-floor window to escape.
In the Sacramento case, Betzold was charged for threats to commit a crime resulting in death, battery against a person causing bodily injury, preventing or dissuading a witness by force or threat, corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and child endangerment.
Court Commissioner Kenneth Brody appointed Assistant Public Defender Andrew Crouse to the defendant, who was standing outside the courtroom’s cage, unlike the earlier defendants. After conferring with the defendant, Crouse asked that Betzold’s bail be set to $50,000.
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Clark was quick to object, insisting that bail should be raised to $500,000 instead. Clark said the defendant has a prior domestic violence incident with the same alleged victim from 2019. That case, however, was dismissed because the victim did not show up to court.
The alleged victim and defendant were in a dating relationship and share a two-year-old daughter together. Betzold is also a ranked MMA fighter.
During the previous incident, the defendant came home from work angry and pushed his spouse to the floor, pulling her hair. While the victim was on her back, he got on top of her and tried to strangle her. When she screamed and tried to call the police, the defendant covered her mouth and took her phone.
The victim then went to grab their two-year-old daughter, who was present, before the defendant punched her head and sides. She suffered a large bruise on her arm, around the size of a baseball.
On the night of March 10, the alleged victim went to pick up her belongings, but the defendant had closed their storage unit and taken all their property. While she was trying to leave, he began to open the front door. The defendant began threatening her by telling her not to speak with the district attorney and to not testify against him in court.
When she tried to call 911, Betzold took her phone away and threatened to kill her. He then punched her in the face with a closed fist more than six times.
During the entire incident, the now two-and-a-half-year-old child was watching. The defendant put his hands around the victim’s neck and began strangling her. She said that the reason she knows she lost consciousness was because the sound of her daughter crying was beginning to fade. She was terrified he would kill her this time.
The defendant then ripped off her Apple Watch and threw her phone at her head. In this case, the victim’s injuries included red marks around her neck, a swollen black eye and a missing chunk of hair.
The alleged victim told the DDA that she has great concern that the defendant will follow through and kill her. As a result, Clark argued that the defendant’s bail should be set to $500,000 and that he should remain in custody.
After hearing Clark’s recounting, the court described the whole ordeal as “egregious.” He concluded that Betzold’s profession as an MMA fighter adds weight to the injuries inflicted and the threatened injuries that he would inflict should the victim talk to the DA’s office.
Based on the severity of the felony charges and the defendant’s history, the court concurred that $500,000 would be an appropriate bail amount to protect the public and victim.
Betzold entered a not guilty plea with a no-contact order. A preliminary hearing has been set for June 19 at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 9.
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