Valentina Shevchenko says coach Pavel Fedotov risked his life defending her during a shootout at a restaurant in Peru earlier this week.
The UFC bantamweight was uninjured after being caught in the crossfire of a gunfight after three armed individuals allegedly robbed a restaurant in Lima on Sunday night, taking money from the cash register as well as cellphones, wallets and other belongings of patrons in the establishment.
According to a report by Peruvian news outlet El Comercio, Fedotov and another customer pulled out a gun and opened fire on the robbers as they were leaving the scene, which led to a shootout in which more than 15 shots were fired. Fedotov was shot in the abdomen in the firefight. One of the robbers died just outside the restaurant, while two others fled on a motorcycle.
Shevchenko released a statement via Facebook on Wednesday regarding the incident:
Thank you so much dear friends for all the moral support in this very hard time that I and my family are going through! On Sunday my coach master Pavel risked his life to defend me and the people that I was having dinner at the local restaurant.
I was at the back of the restaurant, and I've seen how the thieves went from table to table hitting the diners and snatching their belongings without anyone being able to help them. When they were getting closer towards our table, Pavel acted very determined and bravely.
If criminals would have found the gun he was carrying they would have thought that he was a cop, and very likely that they would have killed him with his own gun. The Act of Pavel was not only in self-defense, but also the defense of my life and also of the people who were by my side! Now Pavel is recovering thanks to God!
Shevchenko, who is from Kyrgyzstan but lives in Peru, is scheduled to face Holly Holm in the UFC on Fox 20 headliner in Chicago on July 23. The fighter told TMZSports.com that she still plans to compete at the event.
UFC President Dana White confirmed that the bout is still moving forward as planned for the time being.
“When something like that happens it puts you in touch with your mortality and sometimes you freak out a little bit, but we’ll see how it plays out,” White told TMZ Sports.
The 28-year-old muay Thai specialist debuted in the Octagon with a split-decision triumph over Sarah Kaufman at UFC on Fox 17 this past December. In her last outing, she suffered a unanimous decision loss to current No. 1 contender Amanda Nunes at UFC 196. She is 12-2 over the course of a pro career that began in 2003.