UFC on Fx 5 took place last night in Minnesota, but only 10 of 12* scheduled bouts took place. Jeremy Stephens, who was scheduled to fight Yves Edwards, missed his fight because he was in jail. Stephens was picked up by police on Friday morning and no one knew what the hell for. At no point during the day would Dana White say that the fight was canceled.
Stephens was arrested because of a warrant stemming from a 2011 arrest for assault in Iowa. White tried desperately to work out a deal with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, but they allegedly keep raising the price. Here is White’s statement on the UG (the main MMA message board):
So here’s the deal. I have been working since 11am to get him out of jail. the people in Iowa hate this kid and are going to stick it to him for SURE. Everytime I would cut a deal for bail they would change the deal and I was willing to do anything. They kept changing the deal thinking I would tapout and when I didn’t they left me hangin changing it every 5 mins. People at Minn Sheriffs Dept were amazing and I wNt to thank them. He has been in town since Monday and they arrested him Friday at 11am for a reason to really fuck him. I literally just told Yves he wasn’t fighting 35 mins ago. He is a TRUE OLD SCHOOL PRO who waited all night for us to try and get Jeremy here!!!!! It is a pleasure being in biz with u Yves. So I wanted u the fans to hear it from me first.
White said at the post fight press conference that he had agreed to let two armed officers escort Stephens to and from the event. Stephens will be extradited to Iowa today.
This was some unprecedented and surprising work by the UFC as they tried to bail one of their fighters out of prison hours before a fight. Maybe its the mounting frustration of losing fights and entire cards to injury over the last few months. Maybe they just know Stephens’ true story and he really in innocent. Either way, it wasn’t a great look for the organization as they fought to get someone with a warrant for an assault bailed out of jail.
*The other fight to be canceled was a bout between Dennis Hallman and Thiago Tavares. The fight was called off on Thursday because Hallman was going through personal issues and was going to miss weight. It must have been serious, because while Dana White and the UFC released Hallman, they also paid his show and win bonus and put him on a plane home. Generally, when a fighter misses weight, has a fight canceled and gets cut by the UFC the two sides don’t part on such amicable terms. White and the UFC deserve credit for taking care of a fighter in this situation. Hopefully, Hallman and his family are alright whatever the issue was.