Last month, the UFC flew the headliners and co-headliners of its upcoming summer events out to Dallas for a stacked press conference. As is so often the case when too many fired-up fighters are shoehorned into a small space together, a number of heated confrontations occurred. Of all the blowouts to occur at this press conference, none held a candle to the one involving ranked lightweights Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee, whose scrap will headline the UFC’s June 25 visit to Oklahoma City.
This scuffle began when Lee reminded Chiesa that his mother would be present when they fought. Lee’s mention of Chiesa’s mother caused Chiesa’s blood to boil, at which point he threatened to slap Lee, and stormed across the cage in his foe’s direction. The two lightweights then collided in the middle of the stage, where Lee cracked Chiesa with a punch.
Despite the well established precedent of fighters being punished for scuffles of this kind, Lee and Chiesa remarkably went unpunished by both the UFC and the Oklahoma Athletic Commission.
In fact, Lee recently explained that the UFC really didn’t seem to care that he punched Chiesa at all. The rising lightweight shared this feeling on a recent episode of MMA Junkie Radio.
“They understand it wasn’t on me; I wasn’t the one to do it,” Lee explained. “[Chiesa] was the one to stand up and say he was going to slap the shit out of me. When you say that, and then you walk up on [someone], what do you think is going to happen? The UFC isn’t stupid.”
Lee then shared his belief that Chiesa didn’t actually want a fight to break out.
“If it was me and I really felt disrespected, I’m burning the building down,” he said. “I’m sorry. I’m going to jail. Otherwise, my mom would be disappointed in me.”
Do you think Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa should have punished for their press conference brawl?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/14/2017.