Whenever hundreds of professional fighters converge onto one place, it’s pretty much inevitable a few scuffles will pop up. Not surprisingly, the UFC’s recent Athlete Retreat in Las Vegas was no exception — one needs to look no further than the controversial altercation between Cris Cyborg and Angela Magana as proof of that.
But in addition to the Cyborg-Magana theatrics, UFC welterweight Mike Perry had a couple close calls himself, including a scuffle with featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens that he says happened during the retreat’s final day Snoop Dogg concert.
“I pushed him to the ground. That was it, because he knew,” Perry said of his exchange with Stephens on The MMA Hour. “We weren’t supposed to have our girlfriends there, whatever, but we did. And he walked up behind her and was about to dance on her, man. So it was very disrespectful on his part, because he knew what was up. So I shoved him, and he didn’t want nothing to do with it.”
Perry, a 3-1 welterweight in the UFC who recently scored a grisly knockout over Jake Ellenberger, said that Stephens ultimately chose not to retaliate.
“Nothing,” Perry said. “I mean, I sat there and I looked at him and I waited for a response, if he had something to say, if he wanted to get up quickly and rush at me. None of that happened. A couple UFC fighters (said), ‘oh, don’t get suspended,’ or, ‘don’t get cut, it’s not worth it.’ I’m like, man, I’m fine, I didn’t do a thing. He’s just got to watch my personal space and his personal space. He can’t be up in my stuff. And then I turned around, it was about a minute, and then I walked away because the retreat was over, Snoop Dogg was gone, and it was time to go gamble or do something else in Vegas.”
But that was just one-half of Perry’s heated weekend, as “Platinum” also had a run-in with lightweight contender Al Iaquinta, who Perry says tested his nerves and squirted him with a water gun.
“That sh*t did piss me off,” Perry said, “but I’m a grown-ass man and I’m not going to start a fight with someone because he squirted me a couple times with a water gun. Because I put him on Snapchat, and I don’t have the video anymore — every time I walked by Iaquinta, he tried to, like, get attention from everybody. Like, he tried to act scared, like, ‘oh my God, Platinum Perry’s around,’ like he was scared of me, playing around and going to run away from me. So then I got him on Snapchat like, ‘look, look how he runs away like a little b*tch.’ Then he f*cking pulled out a (water) gun, so I played along, like, ‘oh sh*t, he’s got a gun.’ Then he squirted me. It wasn’t even in my face, it was in the back of my head. He squirted me like twice.”
Perry and Iaquinta already had a history by that point. The two fighters got into a Twitter back-and-forth back in April that saw Perry publicly request a fight against the native New Yorker. Perry said he ultimately let the water gun incident go at the Retreat, but the exchange still reignited the social media feud and had both Perry and Iaquinta mulling the idea of a fight.
“Why not? Yeah,” Perry said. “He said something the other day on Twitter, like, ‘oh, what’s up with July 22?’ So I tagged my manager. [Iaquinta’s] always like, ‘why is he tagging his manager?’ Because my manager can get it done. He can make the phone call. He can make sh*t happen. So I tagged Sean Shelby and I tagged the UFC, and I was like, ‘what’s up? July 22, I’m ready to fight.’
“At the end of the day,” Perry added, “no matter what we say on social media, no matter what we do, no matter what pops off, the UFC is going to call us, or my manager is going to call and say that the UFC offered ‘this.’ And whatever ‘this’ is, it’s what we take. It’s what the UFC has planned, and we follow their plans because we’re in their organization. So I’m ready for any fight.”