UFC on FX 5: Dana White Tells "Jeremy Stephens' Side of the Story" on Arrest
UFC on FX 5 featured the main event between heavyweights Antonio "Big Foot" Silva and Travis Browne, but it was a fight that didn't happen that has taken over much of the story in Minneapolis.
Just hours before he was set to step into the Octagon against Yves Edwards, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens was arrested by local police on Friday morning on out-of-state charges stemming from an arrest in 2011.
Despite UFC President Dana White tweeting throughout the day that the fight was still on, when Stephens was unable to be bailed out of jail, the UFC was forced to cancel the bout.
White spoke briefly about the situation in the post-fight press conference and within an online message board, but more details surfaced following the press conference in the post-fight media scrum.
"Jeremy Stephens' side of the story is that he never hit this guy. It was one of his friends and they were all together," White told a group of reporters including Bleacher Report MMA. "The guys were accusing him of doing it because they're trying to get money out of him. Because he's a UFC guy, they think they can make money off of him or whatever. That's his side of the story."
Stephens has competed in the UFC since 2007 when he was just 21 years old. Now 26, Stephens and White have gotten to know one another, which leads White to believe his guy.
"I like Jeremy Stephens. He's a good kid, I've known him for years and if that's what he tells me, I take grown men for their word," White said. "These guys are in business with me and if that's what he tells me the story is, am I going to call him a liar?"
Unable to speak to Stephens throughout the day, White was forced to go through Stephens' corner as a means of communication.
"[Jeremy's] manager talked to him in the couple calls he got to make," White said. "I tried to leave him a note to say, 'Be ready. You're fighting tonight.' "Thank [God] that law enforcement people love the UFC because everywhere I go, the police are so cool to us and treat us so well. When I was down at the place today, they couldn't have been any nicer. I mean, there's certain things they can't do, but the Sheriff's department here in town could not have been nicer to us."
Dana wouldn't divulge the final number that the bail was set at, but did say that he was ready to pay just about any number, fully expecting that Stephens would show up for the eventual court date."
"I was going to pay the bail...and if he didn't show up in court, I'd send Dog the f^%*ing Bounty Hunter after him."
As a fight promoter, White was intent on making the fight happen, if for no other reason than to shove it in the faces of premature reports that the fight was off.
"It started off that there were two charges," he said. "One was a $1,000 bail and the other one was $20,000."
Things quickly spiraled out of control, however.
"Where we ended, it was f*%^in' insane," White said. "I mean, I could've got [Charles] Manson out for what they wanted me to pay for [Jeremy Stephens]."
As of now, Stephens is still in jail and no further news has surfaced regarding the situation.
"What's going to happen now is that, they have to figure out whether or not he's going to be extradited," White said. "Then they're going to have to come and get him."
I've seen situations like this before. If they really don't like this kid, this kid could be in jail here for three months until they extradite him. Then he goes to jail there and they'll have him sit in jail until he has a hearing."
Although White and the UFC just found out that the legal issue was still a problem today, White does recall hearing the news when it first was reported.
"Everybody remembers when this came out. It came out last year sometime. [At the time] He said it wasn't him. 'I didn't do it,' " White explained. "And then supposedly, this is what his manager says, is that he has a lawyer down there who said that everything was handled. Then they talked with the lawyer today and the lawyer said, 'Yeah, I just put all the paperwork in and all that sh*^." And I'm like, 'He's full of sh*^! This guy's full of sh*^ because I'm dealing with this thing right now and he hasn't done anything!"
According to White, not only did he not know about the situation, but Stephens himself swears that he did not know about the warrant for his arrest.
"As far as [Jeremy] tells me, he absolutely did not know that he [had a warrant out for his arrest]," White said. "And the stupid thing would be, if he did, why would you let it go for over a year when you're on TV?"
This confusing situation has only added to the UFC's recent issues which have included injuries and legal problems to many of the promotion's top stars. For now, Stephens remains in police custody and while he will eventually have his day in court, it's looking as though he may be spending some time behind bars before that date, as well.
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