Kevin Lee was enjoying every minute of the UFC Summer Kickoff press conference last Friday in Dallas when an off-handed comment ended in a full on brawl with opponent Michael Chiesa on stage.
The comment that Lee made invoked Chiesa’s mother and that sent the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner into a rage before he charged across the dais looking to start their fight a few weeks early.
Days after the incident happened, Lee explained that he never said anything bad about Chiesa’s mother but instead was just pointing out that he hoped the fact that she had tickets to the fight would ensure her son would show up rather than drop out like he did his last scheduled opponent in the UFC.
“All I said was his momma’s going to be there, make sure you show up. His momma’s got tickets, you can’t [expletive] out. I really didn’t say nothing bad about his momma ever,” Lee told the Fight Society podcast this week.
“I’m just telling the truth. Show up for the fight. I guess he’s going to show up for sure, he’s got to. I guess I got my mission across. Regardless, I’m just trying to get him to show up for the fight.”
No matter what Lee was saying he didn’t expect Chiesa to actually come charging at him, but that’s all it took for the Detroit native to get up from his seat and prepare to fight right then and there.
Of course, Lee wasn’t trying to cause a chaotic scene right there on stage but he wasn’t going to let Chiesa come after him much less throw a punch before he faced some sort of retribution.
“I was surprised but in hindsight I’m not. He’s a tough mother [expletive]. He’s tough and he’s stupid. The guy rocks a mullet. He’s stupid. He has a mullet and then compared himself to a woman sitting right in front of him. I thought that was funny,” Lee said.
“He’s so stupid. I seen him coming towards me with the left hand cocked back, I thought he was going to throw the left.”
In return, Lee countered with a right hand that clipped Chiesa in the face before security could intervene and separate the two lightweights before things got any uglier. Since the brawl happened, Chiesa has called Lee’s punch a “cheap shot” but the 24-year old lightweight contender counters by saying his opponent was just too slow delivering his own punch and that’s why he got caught.
“He’s slow as molasses cause I seen that left hand coming from a mile away. The man is slow,” Lee said. “He’s going to get hit a lot, he’s going to get damaged and he’s going to keep on trucking. It’s going to make for a great fight.”
As soon as the two fighters were dragged apart, Lee immediately flashed a smile and asked to go back on stage because he wasn’t done with the press conference yet but UFC officials kept him away until the customary face offs a few minutes later.
Lee insists at no moment was he ever enraged or angry at things Chiesa said much less that he tried to engage in a brawl during a press conference. On the flipside, however, Lee says he learned a lot about Chiesa and how exactly to press his buttons to get an irrational response.
“He’s stupid. The man ain’t too smart,” Lee said. ‘I think he even realized that argument afterwards, cause he realized it in the face down. He was like OK let me dial this back. But the man is stupid. He’s just not that smart.
“I know I’m telling the truth and he couldn’t handle it.”
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images/Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
If there was one final message that Lee wanted to convey to Chiesa before they were taken out of the press conference it’s that all the words aside, he’s going to be overmatched when they step into the Octagon together on June 25.
The fight will serve as Lee’s first opportunity to compete in a main event in the UFC and he plans on making an example out of Chiesa to prove he belongs amongst the best lightweight in the world.
“I’m just telling him the truth. He really don’t stand a chance in this fight and I think he knows it deep down,” Lee said. “When I said I’m going to change that man’s life, I don’t mean I’m going to give him some money like Conor [McGregor] or something. I mean when he wakes up on June 26, he won’t be the same man he was on June 25.
“He’s been skipping by on hard work and just being tough and I’m going to show him that’s just not enough. I don’t give a [expletive]. I could sit on the beach for the next six weeks drinking Vodka and martinis. I’m going to get in there and I’m going to show him I’m just a better athlete and a better fighter.”