Jeremy Stephens was just a day away from stepping into the Octagon with Drakkar Klose in what would have been his last time out.
As one of the longest-tenured athletes in the UFC, Stephens has practically seen it all — but having a fight canceled via shove was a new experience. Stephens ended up getting physical with his would-be opponent at weigh-ins ahead of UFC Vegas 24. As a result, the two never got to fight.
“I didn’t think he was going to act like that, respond like that and come at the UFC like that and make it a whole spectacle,” Stephens told MMA Junkie. “From what I’ve heard, I feel like Dana [White] had my back, the company had my back.
“I missed out on an opportunity to go in there, perform. At all levels, I can look at it transparently. I’m very totally cool with exactly what I did. I’m a fighter. I’m primal in those moments.”
Stephens’ shove to Klose had so much force behind it that it caused a whiplash-like effect leaving Klose diagnosed with a concussion and cervical sprain of the neck. Stephens’ explanation for why he shoved Klose was due to his opponent “breaking conduct” and getting in his face.
“Lil Heathen” noted that earlier in the week everything was good and cool between himself, Klose, and Klose’s girlfriend, Cortney Casey. In the moment, his primal instinct just kicked in when he could see that Klose was “getting crazy.” Klose has yet to be booked for a fight since and Stephens has no interest in trying to make it happen again.
“I don’t know what’s going on with him,” Stephens said. “He got knocked out pretty bad the fight before. If UFC wasn’t covering his coverage, that’s not the way to go about it. Reach out, call the f*cking medical (team) if you’re really hurt. I don’t feel like I caused a concussion. He just wasn’t ready. I came too hungry. If you watch his interviews, he’s switching camps. He’s dealing with these injuries. He’s got a bunch of f*cking excuses and bullsh*t. If you watch my interviews, I was talking about my mom. I’m coming here hungry.
“It’s a fight I won. I won. I got paid a little bit of money. I feel like I won. I showed up. He didn’t. He was claiming like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this, do that.’ He was, like, crying. Bro, you should have just showed up and fought. But he didn’t. I don’t have any ill-will toward ‘Jaffar’ or anybody in his crew. I moved on. I’m at peace with myself. I’m very happy the way that I showed up, primally ready to f*cking fight.”
Since the incident, a rule has been put in place where fighters are no longer allowed to touch each other during weigh-in staredowns, or else their fight will be canceled along with suspensions and fines handed out.
They just told us at weigh ins that if we touch our opponent at ceremonial weigh ins for any thing other than a fist bump, or a handshake, or high five, we will be pulled from the card, suspended, and fined.
— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) June 11, 2021
Stephens is currently 0-4 and one no-contest in his last five outings. He competes against former KSW champion Mateusz Gamrot on July 17 in Las Vegas.
This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM