UFC star immediately gets confrontational with Ariel Helwani after being brought on to promote fight
"I'm the type of dude that will tell you how I feel straight off the bat."
That's the truest sentence Kevin Lee uttered during his interview with Ariel Helwani on Monday's MMA Hour.
For fear of incurring the wrath of the rising lightweight star, we urge you to check out his next fight against Michael Chiesa which is set to headline UFC Fight Night 112 on June 25. That's about as much as was said about the fight before the 24-year-old let the host know exactly how he felt about him.
"Me and you got problems... I've got a bone to pick with you."
"There's been a couple of times I've tried to be on your show, I hit you up on Twitter or whatever, but y'all hit me up right away when I get a big fight. That shit just rubs me the wrong way."
Helwani was slightly taken aback by the insinuation that he was merely hopping on the bandwagon by having him on the show.
"Ok, so you haven't felt the love in the past and you feel like I'm kind of a Johnny Come Lately - here I am, calling you on the show only when you get a main event. Is that what you're saying?"
Red beards, bald heads ☘ https://t.co/lDxrL6r4IY
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 20, 2016
Lee explained that he wasn't trying to 'knock his hustle,' he's aware that Helwani has to go 'where the headlines is at,' but he does take issue with the Canadian promoting people on the UFC's roster who aren't real fighters.
"You kind of the guy that people look to as MMA media. You the guy with the bow-tie, with the suit, standing in front of the camera. If you don't want that air-time, get behind the camera."
He argued that Mickey Gall and Khabib Nurmagomedov are being held up a little too highly by the media, claiming the opponents they have faced haven't been the elite of the elite. Meanwhile, Lee has won eight of his ten fights in the promotion at a very young age, but just hasn't received the backing he's looking for.
When he acknowledged that he doesn't get as much exposure because he doesn't 'bring the numbers,' Helwani got a real rise out of him.
AH: "Why is that? Is that on you or is it on me? Is that on you or is that on me?"
KL: "It's on whatever. I know what you're saying. It is what it is. It really don't matter to me. Like you say, whether 10 people listen to show or 10,000, you're going to make the same amount of money. It's the same thing for me. If I fight on the prelims or I fight on the main event, I'm still making the same amount of money, so it really don't matter. My contract is already signed and done. I'm mostly just going to shows to help out, but it really ain't going to do anything for me."
AH: "(Laughs) You'd rather not be doing... damn!"
Serious chip on his shoulder https://t.co/paGHch2wA9
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 22, 2017
After dragging up some old tweets sent in by fans, Lee brought up a meeting he had with Helwani after he scored a first-round knockout over Jake Matthews in 2016.
KL: "When I fought Jake Matthews right here in Las Vegas, you showed up to the media scrum. You asked me one question, I didn't really give you no soundbites, so you walked away. I'm like' Alright bro, I guess that's how it is."
AH: "Oh man, you're a sensitive guy, right? You're sensitive. I respect that because I'm very sesitive. You have thin skin, admit it."
KL: "Fuck no!"
Check out the full interview in all its glory below, from about the 1:32:20 mark.