UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens is in for a long legal battle after being arrested on an outstanding warrant for an assault charge in Des Moines, Iowa from 2011.
Stephens was scheduled to fight Yves Edwards at UFC on FX 5 Friday night, but instead woke up to Minneapolis Police putting him in handcuffs and taking him to the local detention center.
UFC President Dana White was advised of the situation immediately and headed down to the jail to assist his fighter to try and get released in time for the fight.
“I get the call this morning that he’s been arrested in his hotel room, I go straight to the police, the sheriff’s department here and start putting the pieces together on what’s going on and how to fix it. I’m sure you could tell by my tweeting I was 100-percent confident that I was going to get him out for this fight,” White said after UFC on FX 5 ended.
“Basically what happened is they do not like him in Des Moines, Iowa where this warrant is from. Basically, they’re going to extradite him, one of those situations, or not we’ll see what happens with this whole thing, but the kid’s been here since Monday no secret that he was going to be here. They arrest him at almost noontime on Friday after he weighs in yesterday and everything else. In my opinion after dealing with this all day, that was done on purpose.”
White never got a chance to speak to Stephens directly, but was allowed to send him a note while he was in custody. What the UFC President did instead however was do everything in his power to try and secure his release on bail or bond, but for all the hours of effort no deal was struck.
It all points to the outstanding charges according to White, who says it was quite obviously the state of Iowa had no intention of letting Stephens go anywhere no matter what amount of money was going to be paid by the UFC.
“I cut the deal with the people down in Des Moines, Iowa to get him out. Done deal, we cut the deal, I agree to it, we’re going to get him out. They change the deal. Okay, well I accept that deal too. They changed the deal. Every time they would lay out a new deal, I would accept it and they would change it. They kept trying to make it harder and harder and harder and harder,” said White.
“I was devising a plan to break him out and come over here and do this fight. So they finally get to a deal with me for an astronomical amount of money to bail him out and I agree to it and then they did it again. So they’re going to stick it to this kid big time when he gets down to Iowa. They don’t like him, they’re going to stick it to him, and they run me out all day playing games with me. People have gone on three state killing sprees and get freaking bailed out of jail. This kid’s got an assault charge in Des Moines, Iowa and he’s not going to have fun when he gets there cause they got it out for this kid big time.”
At one point as White reveals, he thought he had a deal in place where police officers would literally escort Stephens to the arena, allow him to fight and then take him back into custody, but even that wasn’t enough for authorities to release him.
“I was willing to have two police officers, armed police officers bring him from jail, to come fight tonight, and then bring him back to jail. Let’s do that, let the kid get paid, because he’s going to have to spend money on this thing anyways he’s got a family to take care of, it’s crazy,” White stated.
“I’ve seen crazier (expletive) than this. Floyd Mayweather got to decide when he went to jail. But this kid on an assault charge couldn’t come out and fight today when he would have gone back to jail, I would have bailed him out, I would have flew him to Des Moines, Iowa to face the charges down there. I was willing to do anything and they dragged me out and played games with me all day.”
Obviously the entire situation stems from an outstanding warrant that Stephens had on his record, so White doesn’t deny that the UFC lightweight has to deal with the situation and face the charges, but he wanted to try to help him however he could to at least fight and make his paycheck after what had to be a long and probably expensive training camp.
“There’s no doubt he’s responsible for the situation, but again he’s got a completely different story. We all have different stories when we’re in trouble, but I was trying to help him,” said White.
“It’s a big deal to him. This kid isn’t Jon Jones or Rampage. Do you know what losing this purse means to a kid like Jeremy Stephens, it’s a huge blow. This is how these guys make a living, this is how they feed their families. He spent money to get to this fight, money he probably didn’t have and now he’s really screwed cause the fight didn’t happen.”
As far as his future with the UFC, Stephens remains in limbo for now but White believes he’s got much bigger problems to deal with now that have nothing to do with his next bout inside the Octagon.
“Jeremy’s in a whole other world of trouble. That guy might be in Des Moines, Iowa for the next two years. I’m telling you I’ve never seen a situation where a guy couldn’t get out on bail for an assault charge. He didn’t kill three people, he didn’t murder 20 people in three states, he’s not wanted for any horrible crimes, it’s an assault charge,” said White.
“He’s in big trouble, so I don’t know what’s going to happen to Jeremy.”