(Jeremy Stephens, shown here attempting to perform long division without a calculator.)
Which is interesting, given that he is apparently is being “held on a two assault charges based on a 2011 incident in Des Moines, Iowa. One commanded $1,000 bail and the other $20,000.” Huh.
Anyway, this lack of coherence has infuriated the Baldfather, who had repeatedly tried to get Stephens out of jail in time for his fight and and claimed he was willing spend the amount of money it would take to free Charles Manson to do so. Like many things Dana White says, he may have been embellishing slightly.
While his support for his fighters is heartening and arguably the ethical course to take in these situations, Jeremy Stephens probably doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt in this case.
White goes on to say that he supports Jeremy Stephens in the latter’s upcoming legal battles, as he would any UFC fighter when they encounter legal trouble:
“Jeremy Stephens is a young kid, a young, dumb kid who made a mistake and made a bigger mistake by not taking care of it, but, he’s got a side to this story, everybody’s got their side of the story. I look at the problem and see what it is. I’m always going to believe my guy until I’m proven wrong. I’m always going to support the guys or girls who work for us. … There’s two sides to the story. I’m going to support my guy. You don’t have to be Rampage, or Jon Jones, or some of the big stars in the UFC, if you’re in the UFC and you’ve helped us and you’re a fighter here, I’m going to support you and I’m going to have your back, depending on how serious the situation is.”
On one hand, it’s admirable White is so willing to support his fighters no matter what. (Unless they’re accused of beating their wife. Or they make a rape joke on Twitter. Well, unless Dana likes you.) Technically, all of them are innocent until proven guilty to begin with.
Many of them, especially perennial undercard fighters like Stephens, need to fight in order to simply pay their bills. If the UFC didn’t back them and forced them to undergo legal proceedings on their own, they suffer serious financial repercussions, even though they may be innocent. And, like White claims, it appears the UFC does not discriminate in this regard between its superstars and the rest of its roster.
All in all, it’s the ethical approach to this situation from the major company.
That said, let’s be real here. Jeremy Stephens is not a “young, dumb kid.” He’s 26. He has a job.
Jeremy Stephens is not a dumb kid - he’s just dumb. In fact, he’s exceptionally dumb.
His nickname is “Lil’ Heathen” and he has a giant fucking cross on his back. Stephens probably saw an Affliction shirt at his local strip mall in Iowa with “Heathen” in some terrible font clearly intended to overcompensate for something, thought it looked really cool, asked one of his buddies to read it for him, and liked the way it sounded so much he made it his nickname. Come to think of it, his tattoo was probably inspired in a similar manner. (The words around his cross? “Only God Can Judge Me.” I’m sure the Des Moines district attorney is willing to put that to the test.)
Also, in addition to being stupid, Jeremy Stephens is an asshole.
Now, does this mean Jeremy Stephens is guilty? No.
But let’s stop pretending that he’s a victim of a justice system run wild. Jeremy Stephens’ assault case is stemming from last year.
He had time to deal with this beforehand and didn’t. Moreover, “A Des Moines police department spokesperson… said if [Stephens] had been arrested in Minnesota, it was because he missed his court date.” He brought this on himself – and, frankly, he brought Dana White, Yves Edwards and the UFC along with him by putting them through this mess. Because – I can’t stress this enough – he’s an idiot.
As for the charge itself, Stephens probably didn’t do himself any favors by – essentially – running from them for months. Even White, who has only heard Stephens’ side of the story, admits “there’s no doubt he’s responsible for the situation.” White adds a caveat that “he’s got a completely different story” from his accuser’s – shocking – but frankly, when you concede that a professional fighter is responsible for assaulting someone, it doesn’t look good.
As for the charges themelves, there’s virtually no information available on them. There’s a user on Reddit who claims Stephens beat another man badly and let a relative to take the fall instead, but the only evidence provided is a Facebook conversation. Not exactly a smoking gun.
So for now, Jeremy Stephens will remain in jail, Dana White will remain pissed, and we MMA fans will wonder just what the hell happened here. We’ll update you with more news when it becomes available, Potato Nation.