Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010 | 10:01 a.m.
A preliminary hearing has been delayed for a third time for mixed martial arts fighter Michael “Iron Mike” Whitehead on charges of sexually assaulting a woman in April in his home.
In a hearing this morning, Deputy District Attorney Jake Merback asked Justice of the Peace Tony Abbatangelo to postpone the preliminary hearing because one of the alleged victims is out of the country and not available to testify.
The preliminary hearing was rescheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 7. The original hearing had been scheduled for August.
The alleged victim is visiting a sick family member and would not return to the United States until after the first of the year, Merback said.
Whitehead, who was not at the hearing, opposed the postponement through his attorney, Keith Brower.
Whitehead, 29, who is out of custody, voluntarily turned himself into detectives April 14 following an incident the previous Saturday, April 10, in which a woman filed a police report indicating the MMA fighter had assaulted her.
The woman told police that she and a friend had gone to Whitehead's home for a barbecue, then after drinking, decided not to drive home, according to a police report.
The report said Whitehead told the women that they could sleep in his bed.
One of the women said she awoke to find her pants down and Whitehead having sex with her in the bed. Although she repeatedly demanded that he stop, he didn't for about three minutes, according to the police report.
After the alleged incident, Whitehead sat in a chair in the bedroom, police said. The second woman, who had been next to the woman on the bed, said she witnessed the alleged assault, according to the police report. The second woman alleged that Whitehead groped her during the incident, the report said.
After turning himself in, Whitehead was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on a charge of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and open and gross lewdness.
Whitehead has competed in several MMA organizations, including the UFC and Strikeforce, as a light heavyweight and heavyweight. He was a contestant on the reality series "The Ultimate Fighter 2," losing to eventual season champion Rashad Evans.
His last fight was a TKO (punches) win in the fourth round to Chase Gormley on July 10 at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Mich., where he won the IFC heavyweight championship. He has won 16 of his last 18 fights.