SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez pleaded not guilty on Friday to attempted murder charges in the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice. Velasquez smiled and waived at his supporters who filled the courtroom gallery.

Velasquez tried to kill a suspected pedophile who molested one of Velasquez’s 4-year-old family members inside a daycare, according to prosecutors.

The charges against the MMA star stem from a wild high speed chase and shooting. According to San Jose police, on February 28, Velasquez drove 100 miles-per-hour chasing Harry Goularte on Highway 101, and he opened fire on Goularte’s vehicle multiple times.

Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez appears in court at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on March 2, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Aric Crabb / Bay Area News Group)

The chase stretched from Morgan Hill to San Jose before one bullet struck a second man who was in Goularte’s vehicle. Velasquez was arrested in San Jose and he has remained in jail with no bail ever since.

“Mr. Velasquez’s conduct on that day of his encounter with Goularte was the result of being severely provoked by seeing Goularte freely out in the community to continue to abuse other children,” the MMA star’s attorney wrote in court documents.

Goularte is charged with molesting a boy “hundreds of times” at a daycare owned and operated by his mother, Patricia Goularte, in San Martin, court records state.

Judge Jessica Delgado said a 5-day preliminary hearing for Velasquez will begin on September 26 to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to move the case forward to trial.

This breaking news story will be updated.

Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez (AP file photo)