Earlier this month, the UFC flew the headliners and co-headliners of all its upcoming shows out to Dallas for a massive, summer kick-off press conference. As is so often the case when too many top fighters are brought together in one small room, drama ensued. Of all the drama that occurred on the stage that day, none was quiet as fiery as the blowout between UFC Oklahoma City headliners Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee.
This drama occurred when Kevin Lee pointed out that Michael Chiesa’s mother will be watching when they fight in Oklahoma City. This did not go over well with Chiesa, who threatened Lee, warning him not to speak about his mother. When Lee brushed this threat off, Chiesa stood up, prompting Lee to do the same. The two then stormed to the middle of the stage, where Lee clocked Chiesa with a pretty nice punch.
Precedent suggests that athletic commissions do not look favorably on press conference scuffles of this kind. Examine the fallout of Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz’s infamous press conference bottle-battle for proof of this. Somewhat surprisingly, however, it sounds like Chiesa and Lee will go unpunished for their scuffle – at least as far as the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission (OSAC) is concerned.
Speaking to MMAFighting.com, OSAC executive director Joe Miller explained that, because neither man was licensed by the OSAC at the time of the brawl, neither will be punished.
“However if they are disciplined and placed on suspension by another Commission, we will honor that suspension,” Miller added.
So, from the sounds of it, Chiesa and Lee are in the clear. Had their brawl occurred in Nevada, it’s hard to imagine this being the case.
Do you think Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee should be punished for coming to blows at a press conference?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/31/2017.