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Former MMA Fighter Accused Of Killing Girlfriend In Mexico Hotel On New Year's Day

Baroni is facing a homicide charge after allegedly fighting with his girlfriend and throwing her into a hotel room shower in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, according to local newspaper Tribuna De La Bahia. 

By Caitlin Schunn
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Former mixed martial arts fighter Phil Baroni is accused of murdering his girlfriend after an argument in Mexico, the prosecutor’s office in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit told the Associated Press.

The prosecutor’s office told the AP a woman was found dead on New Year’s Day in the beach town of San Francisco, better known as San Pancho, just north of Puerto Vallarta.

The woman's boyfriend, Baroni, 46, is charged with homicide, and being held at the Municipal Administrative Court of Valle De Banderas in Nayarit, according to the local newspaper Tribuna De La Bahia.

Tourist Police were patrolling along Tercer Mundo Avenue on Jan. 1 when Baroni allegedly asked the officers for help, because his girlfriend, identified only as Paola, was unconscious in a hotel room on Asia Street, the Tribuna reported.

The police said they found a dead naked woman lying down and covered with a sheet in his room, according to the Tribuna. The woman allegedly had bruises and injuries to her face and body.

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Baroni allegedly told officers he was drinking beer and smoking marijuana in the room when he began arguing with his girlfriend, because she told him she had sex with another man, according to the Tribuna. He allegedly asked her to take a shower, and when she refused, he threw her in the shower. Police say that Baroni told them this is how the woman got marks on her body, by falling in the shower. He then allegedly told officers he laid her in the bed and covered her with a sheet because she was cold, then went to get cigarettes and beer at her request, according to the newspaper. Police say that when he came back to the room, he told them he laid down next to her and thought she was asleep, but when he tried to wake her up, she didn’t respond.

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Photos of the alleged crime scene, posted to Facebook by Mexican news outlet Observando En La Bahia, claim to show Baroni as he’s questioned by police, as well as his alleged knuckles which appear red and swollen.

The Observando reports Paola was 46 and from Mexico City. Baroni allegedly told police he tried to revive his girlfriend but was unable to do so, according to the Observado.

The Criminal Investigative Agency is still investigating, according to the Tribuna, and a forensic doctor will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death, before returning the body to the family.

Known as “The New York Bad Ass,” Baroni competed professionally with the MMA for nearly 20 years, from 2000-2019, and was a popular name among fans of the sport in the early 2000s, even considered a title contender, according to the “MMA Junkie” section of USA Today. Baroni held an MMA record of 16-19, and is best known for his 18-second knockout of Dave Menne at UFC 39, according to the website MMA Fighting. He also fought former UFC champions Frank Shamrock and Evan Tanner during his career.

According to the AP, an initial hearing on the case is expected to be held Monday.

Oxygen.com has reached out to the prosecutor’s office in Mexico for comment but has not yet heard back.

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