Michael Chiesa: More than a Mullet
Michael "MAVERICK" Chiesa
The UFC Summer Kickoff show was stacked with big name fighters such as Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Chris Weidman, Holly Holm and many more, but it was Michael 'Maverick' Chiesa and co-headliner at UFC Fight Night in Oklahoma City (June 25) Kevin 'Motown Phenom' Lee that stole the show as the two engaged in an unexpected brawl halfway through a recent press conference. The fiery clash on the dais stemmed from 'Maverick' taking exception to a comment made by Lee about Maverick’s mom:
[Lee] “He’s gonna headline because of me. After that, he’s going back to the prelims. But I just hope he shows up because I know his momma’s got tickets."
After an outburst in response, Chiesa followed up by rushing across the stage at Lee before being held back by two security guards, where Lee was able to deliver a right-hand blow to Chiesa’s face. The Ultimate Fighter season 15 winner and UFC's sixth-ranked lightweight wasn’t hurt by Lee's punch - he didn’t even realize he was actually hit!:
[Chiesa] “I didn’t even know he punched me until I got back stage. As they’re pulling me back I was asking Reid, ‘did he punch me? did he punch me?’ And they were like, ‘yeah, dude, he socked you right in the face.’ ..it was a cheap shot..…I get grabbed by two guys and he runs up unattended and punches me.”
Chiesa told the The MMA Hour radio show, “There is an unspoken rule with competitors, men and just among people in general that it’s okay to talk shit, it’s okay to promote a fight, but you just don’t bring families into it…people are saying he didn’t even say anything that bad, but It’s not up to him to know that I’m a momma’s boy…. you know, the media knows, the UFC knows, and for Christ’s sake if my mom is in attendance in a fight right after I win, they have a camera on her….it’s that one button you can push to really get that kind of reaction out of me, so I don’t regret it at all, but I know it won’t happen again.”
In the days following the incident, Cheisa released an official statement on social media apologizing for his actions. However, in the process, he also took a chance to take a swipe at the ‘punching power’ of Lee.
[Chiesa] "If that cheap shot he landed on me is any indication of anything - he’s in deep shit …I mean, I’m still ugly as ..... but as I had 2 guys holding me back, he landed one nice flush cheap shot and safe to say that guy couldn’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag.”
When asked if he regretted the whole incident, 'Maverick' stated he was just ready to move on and focus on the fight in Oklahoma City.
“It’s water under the bridge, it’s nothing to dwell on, you know. I’ve always been a pretty cool customer, that was just totally very uncharacteristic of me. That’s just the type of person I am, I’m not a hot head....I'm just back to the task and it’s all about the fight now.”
Chiesa is returning after a 14-month absence from the Octagon due to an injury obtained during a win over Beneil Dariush in April last year. Whilst he is confident his elite level grappling will be too much for the 24-year-old 'Motown Phenom', Vegas odd makers disagree - and have installed Lee as a -135 favorite, while Chiesa is a +105 underdog.
A win could bump 'Maverick' into the top five of the division and bring him one step closer to a title shot. Unfortunately, with what is going on with those ranked above him and of course the Conor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather match pending, it doesn't seem that the belt will be defended anytime soon.
Chiesa made his thoughts very clear on the state of the division when talking to the Fight Society podcast team recently:
[Chiesa] “We don’t need to beat around the bush. Conor’s doing what he’s doing ......... What Conor is doing is ridiculous. It’s a tricky decision, we’re sitting and waiting for one guy to do something, and you’ve got 10 guys spring loaded to do something. Like we’re all gunning to be world champion and it sucks just having to sit back and wait to see what this guy does."
“By the time the Floyd fight happens, his belt will not have moved for a year. This division has already been plagued by delays. Look when Pettis was champion and how many fights we had. We had none. There’s never been an interim title. Once again the lightweight division is backlogged so it kind of sucks. It really does.”
“As upset as I am in the state of the lightweight division, I’d probably do the same thing if I had $100 million waiting for me. I don’t blame him for doing what he’s doing but it sucks for the rest of us.”
To find out more about Chiesa’s thoughts on his weekend showdown with Lee, the roadblocks in the UFC's lightweight division and where he gets that delicious mullet trimmed - subscribe to the UFC Channel on PADLOKT.com today, and talk with Michael Chiesa live via video (or watch live via live stream) on June 23 at 6PM CT where the 'Maverick' will answer all your questions.
This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Jimmy. R. Nugent