Former UFC interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee was released by the promotion this week and the Professional Fighters League is ready to accept “The Motown Phenom” with open arms.
The news of Lee’s departure from the UFC was first reported by MMA Fighting.
Heavy spoke with the PFL’s CEO, Peter Murray, on December 1, 2021, a day after news broke. Murray confirmed his interest in signing Lee and said that “conversations are happening.”
“We’re excited about Kevin Lee,” Murray said. “Those conversations are happening in real-time.”
“We think the PFL would be a fantastic next chapter for him,” the PFL CEO continued.
You can listen to the rest of Murray’s interview below via the YouTube video. Murray and Heavy’s Stephen McCaugherty spoke about the PFL’s 2021 season, the potential Kayla Harrison vs. Cris Cyborg superfight, PFL’s 2022 season, how the promotion’s “Smart Cage” works, and much more!
Lee last competed in August 2021 against Daniel Rodriguez at welterweight. It was The Motown Phenom’s first bout in 17 months, and his first trip up to 170 pounds since May 2019. He lost a unanimous decision to Rodriguez, his fourth defeat in five fights. He has a professional MMA record of 18-7, holding notable victories over the likes of Edson Barboza and Gregor Gillespie.
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Lee Said He Didn’t Receive a Phone Call About His Release, Just an Email
Lee didn’t hear from UFC president Dana White, the UFC’s chief business officer, Hunter Campbell, or any of the promotion’s matchmakers about his release. Instead, he received an email from a UFC staff member notifying him that he no longer had a spot on the roster.
That’s what he told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” this week.
“That was kind of the worst part about it,” Lee said via MMA Fighting. “Didn’t really have the proper notice or even really have a phone call about it.
“At first, I was shocked a little bit. I didn’t really understand what was going on. Then once I talked to my manager, agent and kind of made sure it was official, I hopped on the phone with a bunch of other people. Pissed and a little bit embarrassed and it really doesn’t make much sense to me.”
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Lee Called Campbell After He Received the Email
The Motown Phenom told Helwani that he called Campbell after finding out he was cut. Lee shared that he feels completely disrespected by the UFC brass for not reaching out to him.
“I heard from Hunter, he kind of fed me some bulls***,” Lee said via the outlet. “But not from nobody else. I reached out to him. I found his number. That’s the main thing that kind of pisses me off about this. When we’re in the UFC, that’s really all you’re fighting for is your respect. People respect you for being a UFC fighter when they hear the name, like they automatically give you some respect. We’re not doing it really for the money. Ain’t a whole lot of fame in this s***.
“I’ve done all this s*** for y’all. I’ve put myself and my body on the line just to end up with an alcohol problem and a tax problem and at the end of the day, you take my respect away from me, too? It’s like OK, well s***. I’m going to stop right there.”