UFC president Dana White just posted on The Underground explaining his side of the Jeremy Stephens situation. Stephens was arrested this morning and, despite it not making any sense for the fight to go ahead, White claimed all night that Stephens was still fighting.
Here's what he had to say:
So here's the deal. I have been working since 11am to get him out of jail. the people in Iowa hate this kid and are going to stick it to him for SURE. Everytime I would cut a deal for bail they would change the deal and I was willing to do anything. They kept changing the deal thinking I would tapout and when I didn't they left me hangin changing it every 5 mins. People at Minn Sheriffs Dept were amazing and I wNt to thank them. He has been in town since Monday and they arrested him Friday at 11am for a reason to really fuck him. I literally just told Yves he wasn't fighting 35 mins ago. He is a TRUE OLD SCHOOL PRO who waited all night for us to try and get Jeremy here!!!!! It is a pleasure being in biz with u Yves. So I wanted u the fans to hear it from me first.
I don't want to say too much here, but the idea that they waited to arrest him just to "really fuck him" is crazy. There are plenty of reasons to arrest him in the morning when they knew exactly where he would be and not at a weigh-in event or trying to track him down during media events the rest of the week.
Also, it was completely irresponsible to pursue the idea of going ahead with the fight. Especially when we were to the end of the Fuel prelims and Dana was saying that he was still in jail but they were still planning to have him fight.
Aside from the idea that both he and Yves would be mentally prepared for a fight after all the drama seemed crazy. And then to suggest that you would bring a guy from jail directly to an arena, get him gloved up and send him to the cage is the height of absurdity.
I'll be following up with the athletic commission on Monday to see if Stephens had disclosed an outstanding felony warrant on his fighter application as that is a part of standard fighter license applications.
I'm not really sure what value there was in desperately trying to save this fight was. I don't think it's a particularly media friendly story to say that White pressured the cops for a deal so they could have a guy who was arrested on a felony warrant compete in a professional fight.