If the best defense truly is a good offense, then Aaron Zalewski's defense to claims he assaulted and battered his wife, UFC Octagon Girl Brittney Palmer, has officially begun. On Jun. 3, Zalewski went on the offensive with a story framing himself as the victim, filing a cross-complaint against Palmer in Los Angeles Superior Court for assault and battery, malicious criminal prosecution, defamation, extortion, stalking, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, and violation of the RICO act.
The allegations stem from events on the night of Jun. 11, 2015 inside the couple's Hollywood home. According to TMZ, Zalewski allegedly "went ballistic" after hearing a casting agent call her "babe" over the phone. The report states that Zalewski pinned Palmer's face down on a mattress, knee on back, where she struggled to breathe for two minutes. Zalewski was arrested for attempted murder the following day but the charges were later dropped.
Palmer, with the help of attorney Christopher Darden (of O.J. Simpson fame), filed a civil lawsuit for assault and battery on Apr. 13. Her detailed version of events that fateful June night is disturbing to say the least.
According to Palmer's complaint, Zalewski demanded that Palmer sign a divorce document. After allegedly noticing her cell phone and asking if she was taping him, Zalewski "took the cell phone and deleted the recording." An argument over the cell phone then purportedly escalated to physical and verbal violence. Palmer later alleges Zalewski scratched up his own arms and threatened to tell police that she caused his injuries.
In his cross-complaint, Zalewski fires back with incredible accusations. Zalewski claims that Palmer "had a motive to fabricate the aforesaid domestic violence allegations against [Zalewski], which said allegations were the result of greed, dishonesty and a conspiracy to defraud [Zalewski] so that Cross-Defendant BRITTNEY PALMER could achieve wealth, a lifestyle beyond that to which she had ever experienced or was likely to achieve on her own as an aging female in the entertainment business."
According to Zalewski, Palmer would only have received a one-time payment of $25,000 upon divorce thanks to an "ironclad" prenuptial agreement. Zalewski believes Palmer and Darden attempted to extort $850,000 earlier this year for a settlement in their divorce proceedings and that Palmer never loved him. Zalewski further claims that her true motives for entering into the marriage were to "fraudulently and willfully obtain money from [Zalewski]."
The cross-complaint describes Palmer's alleged physical abilities as someone "highly trained, skilled and experienced in mixed martial arts." She was purportedly fortunate enough to be in a position to acquire the "world class, deadly skills taught in MMA" thanks to her role as an international spokesperson for the UFC.
According to Zalewski, Palmer on many occasions became extremely violent and engaged in verbal and physical attacks on Zalewski who "was and now is unable to defend himself against such physical and verbal abuses...has never once received martial arts training of any kind...has never once been engaged in a physical altercation with any other person...has never once thrown a punch, kick, slap or any other kind of strike against another person in his lifetime."
He also alleges that throughout the marriage Palmer abused alcohol, had bouts of "suicidal ideation," and threatened to kill herself on numerous occasions.
Strangely, with regard to alleged alcohol abuse, an exhibit towards the end of the filing includes excerpts of a text exchange purporting to show that Palmer wrote, "I drink entirely too much. Especially lately," to which Zalewski then replied, "Two glasses o [sic] wine a night is not too much."
So how did the night in question unfold?
According to Zalewski, on Jun. 11, 2015 he was "peacefully" at home when Palmer "seized upon" him, provoked, taunted, and "brutally assaulted and battered [Zalewski] about his arms, legs, head and chest on multiple occasions throughout the night..."
The rest of the story is told in Palmer's purported own words. Zalewski claims to have an audio recording where Palmer describes what happened that night. In Palmer's complaint, she argues that she was coerced into making the recording and Zalewski modified it to sound as if Palmer was the aggressor.
Or as Christopher Darden writes in a Mar. 1 letter to Zalewski's attorney, Mark Geragos, "Clearly, Mrs. Zalewski [Palmer] is a victim of domestic violence and abuse and it is not rare or unlikely that an abuser like her husband would coerce his victim to retract and recant allegations of abuse. In this matter, Mr. Zalewski forced his wife to make and record such a statement. It is my firm belief Mr. Zalewski altered the recording so that it appeared his wife recanted her allegations of abuse. Fortunately, I have heard the original recording and it is clear that Mrs. Zalewski was forced by her husband to change her statements."
Palmer believes the recording in question was provided to prosecutors who, "acting in reliance of the tape or its alleged contents," declined to prosecute Zalewski for attempted murder.
The purported transcript of Palmer's alleged audio comments is LINKED HERE. Palmer disputes its authenticity.
Due to Palmer's alleged actions, Zalewski claims to have been "unable to pursue his vocation," therefore suffering a loss in earnings and earnings capacity. Curiously though, the exhibits to Zalewski's cross-complaint include excerpts of alleged text messages subsequent to Jun. 11, 2015 in which he states "Of course I've been working all night Radio show" and "Then I'll finish radio show and clean in here."
It is unconfirmed yet one could imagine the radio show in question is that associated with his activities at Compound Stock Earnings. Zalewski was the subject of a Texas fraud lawsuit last year due to his alleged actions at Compound Stock Earnings, which he recently won on summary judgment.
The Case Management Conference for Palmer and Zalewski's litigation is currently scheduled for Sept. 15. Bloody Elbow will keep readers informed of major updates in the case.
Paul is Bloody Elbow's analytics and business writer. Follow him @MMAanalytics.