The main event at UFC Fight Night 159 this past weekend lasted just 15 seconds after Jeremy Stephens took an eye poke from Yair Rodriguez and was unable to continue, prompting referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.
Upset by the stoppage and further inflamed by Rodriguez’s post-fight antics, which included climbing the cage to wave the crowd on and a profane brush-off of post-fight interviewer Michael Bisping, the Mexico City crowd proceeded to pelt Stephens with rubbish, which forced security to quickly usher the American out of harm’s way.
This week, former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub joined a growing list of people condemning Rodriguez’s actions. On his “Below the Belt” podcast, Schaub expressed his ire with “Pantera,” especially his insinuation that Stephens -- a veteran known for his grit and toughness -- had been looking for a way out of the fight.
“This is what’s interesting to me about this,” Schaub said. “I could understand if it was like a new kid, say some up-and-comer who you’re like, ‘Man, he didn’t seem like he wanted to be in there,’ or something like that. But Jeremy Stephens is a dog. You think he trained at high altitude for weeks and put his body through all that f---ing stress and the freaking hustle that he did to get in that shape, and you think he would just kind of look for a way out because of an eye poke? You’re out your goddamn mind.”
Rodriguez and Stephens will now get a chance to fight again in Boston next month and Schaub says he hopes “Lil’ Heathen” knocks Rodriguez out for how he acted last weekend:
“It makes Yair look bad, the s--- he was talking about Jeremy Stephens,” Schaub said. “Yair, the way he acted towards Bisping. That kid, man, I don’t know if it’s the group around him or what but you want to talk about [a] mismanaged career thus far. And this ain’t helping his cause at all. This does not make me want to jump aboard the Yair Rodriguez train at all. I hope they do fight again and I hope Jeremy Stephens beats the f--- out of him after that.”
UFC on ESPN 6 takes place Oct. 18 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. It is scheduled to be headlined by the light heavyweight debut of former middleweight champ Chris Weidman, who faces Dominick Reyes. The rebooked Stephens-Rodriguez bout is likely to be slotted in the co-main event, replacing the Calvin Kattar vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov fight that was scratched after Magomedsharipov withdrew due to injury.