Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan were at the broadcast booth during UFC 216 when they noticed a bump on Kevin Lee’s left chest. Upon seeing it, Rogan called it out, speculating that it could be staph infection.
Lee later admitted during the post-fight interview that it was indeed a case of staph infection. But according to Cormier, he was advised by someone in the UFC not to mention it during the broadcast.
“So we’re on air, right, and Rogan goes ‘is that staph?’” Cormier said during a recent episode of the Talk & Talker podcast. “And somebody in my ear, I don’t know who it is goes ‘don’t say nothing.’ And I was like ‘What the hell? Do I address this, or do I not say anything?’”
“So I was like ‘it is.’ I couldn’t help myself, I go ‘it is staph.’ Because it’s big and red, and raised up.”
From his perspective as a fighter, Cormier explained how the antibiotics that Lee could have taken for the infection may have done the damage, which ultimately affected his overall performance.
“The issue is you can take antibiotics to get better. But again, antibiotics, it’s the devil when you’re getting ready for a fight because it f—ks with your cardio,” Cormier explained. “You don’t really have much of an option in terms of feeling better when you have staph.”
“In training, you go ‘oh my goodness, what is this? It might me staph.’ You stop, you get on antibiotics, and you get better. When you’re a week from the biggest fight of your career, you go ‘oh shit, this is staph, but I gotta keep training.’ You don’t have the option to just shut it down.
Cormier went on to reveal that Luke Rockhold was actually in the same predicament during the Chris Weidman fight at UFC 194 in 2015. At UFC 216, he saw Lee deteroriate during the second and third round.
“Even Luke Rockhold, when he fought Chris Weidman a while back, he had staph, and he took the antibiotics, and by the third round, he was completely gassed,” Cormier said. “We’re just lucky he got him out of there in the fourth, because he was completely done because of the antibiotics.”
“For Kevin Lee, he had no option because he couldn’t not fight. And you saw it, I mean between the second and third round, he told his corner, he goes ‘I’m just so tired.’”
“It’s sad because he didn’t get a fair shake, but the reality is, Tony Ferguson was on his game. And it was just getting worse because Tony was just getting better as the fight was going on.”