Former UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee was released from the promotion back in November.
Since his release, Lee (18-7) has signed with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC and is scheduled to face Diego Sanchez at Eagle FC 46 in March. Despite the new home under the Eagle FC banner, Lee has continued to talk about his tenure with the UFC and has made an outrageous claim regarding his release.
‘They Showed Me No Respect’
“I know the back end and all the stuff that goes behind closed doors,” Lee told MMA Junkie. “They really showed me no respect toward the end. I feel like I ate a lot of the flak for guys like Francis Ngannou in his situation with them. They used me as kind of like a pawn and a scapegoat. And really, I hope other fighters kind of see that. That’s what they do to you.”
How exactly was Lee used as a scapegoat?
“They didn’t like the way negotiations was handled with Francis, so they took it out on me to kind of show (CAA) a lesson,” Lee continued. “But I think in the end, we’re going to show that you can’t necessarily treat people like this, and there’s many other ways to make money and kind of outshine them. So we’re going to beat them one way or the other.”
CAA is Creative Artists Agency, a direct competitor to the UFC’s parent company Endeavor and the agency that represents both Kevin Lee and UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
The Reality Of It
The more likely scenario is that the UFC released Kevin Lee due to losing four of his last five bouts. Lee came bursting into the UFC going 9-1 in his first 10 bouts but never recovered from a loss to Tony Ferguson. Lee only earned two victories between Oct. 2017 and his eventual release.
Another factor that likely played into Lee’s release is a 6-month suspension levied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a failed post-fight drug test following his loss to Daniel Rodriguez in August.
Had Lee continued to win and done it cleanly, he may have received the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, neither was the case.
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