Kevin Lee Squashes Bad Blood with Chiesa Amid Controversy
Kevin Lee’s victory over Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Night on Sunday didn’t come without controversy.
Updated: June 26, 2017 • 1:11 PM ET
UFC Fight Night in Oklahoma City had its fair share of controversy.
The bad blood between UFC lightweights Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee was eradicated at UFC Fight Night 112 on Sunday, but not without a whirlwind of controversy.
The lightweight bout featured two rising stars in the division, who just over a month ago publicly tangled in a physical dispute at the press conference where their fight was announced. Rule No. 1 in fighting: don’t talk about another fighter’s mama. Lee made that mistake at the press conference, so Chiesa made sure he knew he slipped up and a scuffle ensued, resulting with both fighters being forced to vacate the press conference’s stage.
In the week leading up to the fight, Chiesa insisted that the feud was over and he was focused on fighting. Chiesa last fought in April 2016, and there were minor concerns of ring-rust entering Sunday’s fight. Lee dominated Chiesa for more than four minutes before ending the fight via rear-naked choke in the first round. Although Chiesa never tapped out, referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight as if he did, or as if the lights turned out on Chiesa.
Immediately after Yamasaki said stop and Lee let go, Chiesa promptly bounced to his knees to protest the stoppage. The Oklahoma City crowd also showed their displeasure with Yamasaki with a wave of boos, but Lee nevertheless walked away from the Octagon with his fifth consecutive victory. At the time of the stoppage, Lee was out-striking Chiesa 22-3 and showed no signs of slowing down.
“It was just going to be four more rounds of that," Lee said in the post-fight interview. "I just follow what the ref tells me. If the referee tells me he stopped, he stopped.
“I’m just choking him. I’m getting ready to get it in. If he wants to do it again, we can. But it was going to just be four more rounds of that."
Lee moved to 9-2 in the UFC and has tracked many miles at 24 years young. He improves with every fight and needs to continue that trend as he competes in arguably the toughest division in the UFC. Also in the post-fight interview, Lee called for a fight with No. 1 ranked contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"I want Khabib [Nurmagomedov], man," Lee said. “In December in Detroit, I’m headlining that card. If Khabib don’t want it, Mike can get it in Detroit.
“Khabib, you've got the date. You've got the time. Let's get it in, baby."
That time and place would be at UFC 219 in December in Lee’s hometown of Detroit. Whether Lee gets a top contender remains to be seen; but as he stated, he welcomes the idea of a rematch with Chiesa.
In the co-main event, middleweight Tim Boetsch dismantled hometown boy Johny Hendricks by TKO in the second round. Hendricks missed weight for the fourth time in his career and the first time since moving up to middleweight. He weighed in at 188 pounds, missing the 186-pound limit for middleweights in a non-title fight. He forfeited 20 percent of his purse to Boetsch due to missing weight.
Boetsch has now won three of his last four fights and improved his record to 21-11. Boetsch may have defeated a fighter who is a shell of his former self, but he proved that he’s still as dangerous as ever.
Other results from UFC Fight Night 112:
Women's strawweight: Felice Herrig def. Justine Kish via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
Light heavyweight: Dominick Reyes def. Joachim Christensen via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:29)
Welterweight: Tim Means def. Alex Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Featherweight: Dennis Siver def. BJ Penn via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-27)