UFC champion Cain Velasquez granted bail after months behind bars on attempted murder charge
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Cain Velasquez has been granted bail after months behind bars on an attempted murder charge.
The former UFC champion was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of shooting Paul Bender during a car chase.
The 40-year-old was later charged with attempted murder and has been held in jail for eight months.
Velasquez pleaded not guilty to the charge in August, and now, following a 13-hour hearing, the former heavyweight fighter has been granted bail on a $1 million bond.
According to police, Velasquez was allegedly involved in an 11-mile car chase near San Jose in February, shooting at a vehicle carrying 43-year-old Harry Eugene Goularte, who was accused of molesting a young family member of the fighter prior to the incident.
Velasquez is said to have chased the car down, firing multiple shots, with Bender, Goularte's stepfather, injured as a result.
Despite the severity of the charges, and Bender's pleas for bail to be rejected, Judge Arthur Bocanegra of Santa Clara County granted Velasquez's release.
Speaking during the pre-trial hearing, Judge Bocanegra said he did not believe Velasquez posed a continued risk.
"This incident is extremely serious but appears to be isolated behaviour by Mr Velasquez," he said.
"There is also a viable heat of passion defence."
The terms of the fighter's release include a $1m bail, GPS monitoring, and compliance to an extended set of terms.
Velasquez is allowed no weapons, must take part in traumatic brain injury/CTE outpatient treatment, counselling, seizure conditions, and a protective order to stay away from Harry Goularte, Patricia Goularte and Paul Bender.
Goularte recently pleaded not guilty to one felony count of lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14, with a hearing set for this month.
The judge told Velasquez: "Mr Velasquez, I would not release you if I was not convinced that upon a release at this time, eight months later, that you would be a danger to Harry Goularte primarily, Patricia Goularte or Paul Bender.
"If you are as devoted a husband and father, I’m confident and have to believe you will not jeopardize anything that would take you away from your son, your daughter, your family. I hope you don’t prove me wrong."
To which the MMA legend replied: "I won’t, your honour."
Mark Geragos, Velasquez’s lawyer, told ESPN that it was a huge relief for his client.
He said: "It's been a long slog and I am very grateful.
"Nothing is as touching as watching him having it sink in with his wife Michelle there."