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Kevin Lee reveals why he ‘lost a lot of respect’ for Mike Perry

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Kevin Lee is expected to face Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 35.

Kevin Lee prepares to fight Charles Oliveira.
Kevin Lee before his fight against Charles Oliveira in March 2020.
Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

Kevin Lee thought Mike Perry would have accepted his challenge to fight him on short-notice at UFC Vegas 35, so he was admittedly frustrated when it did not happen.

Lee made the decision to move from lightweight to welterweight for the second time in his professional career and wanted a fight against Perry in what would be his re-introduction to the division. Lee took to social media to see if Perry was ready to go for UFC 264 in July, but was turned down after ‘Platinum’ said he needed more time to prepare. Lee moved on, and accepted a fight against an undefeated welterweight prospect in Sean Brady, but has now lost out on that one twice due to injuries sustained by both parties.

Lee wanted to remain on UFC Vegas 35 and revisited Perry as a potential opponent, so he took to social media once again to call him out. He did not elicit an immediate response from Perry and Lee was instead booked against short-notice replacement, Daniel Rodriguez. The ‘Motown Phenom’ said he is appreciative of Rodriguez for stepping in and made sure to praise him for doing so, but could not help but be disappointed in the Perry fight not coming to fruition.

“Mike Perry would have been a good one,” Lee told Submission Radio. “That would have been a good name. Honestly, it would have been a softball, and I was kind of looking for a softball. I ain’t had one yet in my career, and Perry would have been that, but he didn’t want to give it to me. So me and him, I lost a lot of respect for the man after that. I asked for that fight in May. He said give him a little bit more time, so I moved on and wanted to fight Sean Brady in July.

“He said he needed a few more weeks up there in July, but then Aug. 28 rolls around and he still ain’t say nothing,” continued Lee. “So, I lose a lot of respect for the man and I’ll say one thing and that’s going to be the end of it between me and him. He can never say he from Michigan again. If I hear anything come out his mouth that he’s from Flint, that he’s from Michigan, we’re going to have some serious problems. There ain’t going to be none of that picture-taking and hand-shaking when he sees me. That’s not how we get down from where I’m from.”

Perry did eventually respond to Lee and revealed that he was more than happy to fight him, but his approach to accepting fights has changed drastically as he is trusting his team to help make those decisions. Lee does not believe that is the real reason why Perry declined to fight him.

“I mean, the man doesn’t even have a coaching staff,” said Lee. “You mean leave it to his girl? And if it’s on his girl’s decision, well then now I really lose a lot of respect, you know? So best of luck to him. Best of luck to him. I hope he does something, but to me, if you not stepping up and you don’t want to fight, then get the f—k out the way and let somebody else get in there. Do what you do, but get the f—k out the way. You’re holding up some other kid’s dream that want to be in here. I ain’t got no respect for it.”

Lee meets Rodriguez on the main card of UFC Vegas 35, which is headlined by a featherweight fight between Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze.