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Ex-MMA fighter Phil Baroni charged in death of girlfriend in Mexico

(SAN FERNANDO, Mexico) — Former mixed martial arts fighter Phil Baroni was being held in a Mexican jail Thursday after he was arrested on suspicion of killing his girlfriend, whose body was discovered in a hotel room, authorities said.

Baroni, 46, was taken into custody Wednesday in the beachside town of San Fernando, near Puerto Vallarta, after he flagged down police and allegedly told them his girlfriend accidentally hit her head when he threw her into the shower, according to local media reports.

The Nayarit Attorney General’s Office said the suspect was charged with an “aggravated femicide” that occurred on New Year’s Day.

The attorney general’s office identified the suspect only as an American named Phillip B.

Baroni purportedly summoned police officers to his room at the Jardin San Pancho Hotel on Sunday and told them his girlfriend was unresponsive, the Tribuna de la Bahia newspaper in Porto Vallarta reported.

Police officers found the woman on a bed covered by a sheet, the newspaper reported citing local police. Baroni purportedly told police his girlfriend hit her head when he tossed her into a shower during an argument and that he helped her onto the bed and left the room, according to the newspaper.

He claimed he found her unresponsive when he returned to the room. Police said officers noticed bruises on the woman’s body, the newspaper reported.

It was unclear Thursday if Baronihas hired an attorney.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Baroni had a 16-19-0 record during a 19-year career as a welterweight and middleweight competitor on the MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship circuit, according to the UFC website. He last fought in September 2019 and has been declared ineligible for regional rankings in the sport due to inactivity, according to the website.

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