Former Tennessee Vols football star A.J. Johnson will be making his mixed martial arts debut in early 2018 despite a pending rape trial.
Johnson, who was an All-SEC linebacker and second all-time in SEC tackles, will be competing in an amateur heavyweight bout against CJ Baker at Valor Fights 47.
The event will take place at Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tennessee on Jan. 6.
Of course, there will be plenty of controversy will Johnson set to fight despite a rape trial set for July 16.
Johnson and his former teammate, Michael Williams, are accused of raping a female athlete at the university during a party at Johnson’s apartment. Johnson and Williams maintain the sex was consensual and that the woman was also dating another Tennessee football player at the time.
Johnson and Williams’ attorneys are seeking social media messages and texts from the accuser and her friends claiming that they could show she is lying about the relationship.
A hearing is set for Jan. 10 to discuss whether a subpoena will be used to gather any relevant electronic information, according to KnoxNews.com.