Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has once again come under fire from the Culinary Union, this time for its decision to include lightweight combatant Jeremy Stephens on the upcoming UFC on FOX 5 fight card scheduled for Dec. 8, 2012 at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.
"Lil' Heathen" was arrested at his hotel in early October, just hours before his scheduled bout against Yves Edwards at the UFC on FX 5: "Browne vs. Silva" event from the Target Center in Minneapolis. Stephens was picked up for an outstanding warrant stemming from a 2011 assault charge in Iowa.
His inclusion on this weekend's telecast "raises serious questions about FOX's programming judgment," according to a letter from Chris Serres, research analyst from Local 226. In addition, the Culinary Union "encourages FOX to wait for the resolution of the jury trial in Iowa related to the alleged assault before allowing [him] to fight on the network."
Stephens has maintained his innocence following his arrest.
Also named in the letter to FOX is UFC lightweight Abel Trujillo, knows as "Killa" inside the cage, for having twice plead guilty to "domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury" against the mother of his child. The ZUFFA rookie also plead guilty to "obstruction of an emergency communication" back in 2007.
Stephens and Trujillo are both scheduled to compete on the FX Channel "Prelims."
The Culinary Union has a longstanding beef with ZUFFA because (short version) the Fertitta brothers own a bunch of properties in Las Vegas that are non-union and according to UFC President Dana White, the Union "gangsters" have been doing "dirty stuff" to try and change that.
But that's a fight for another day. As it stands, the Culinary Union raises a couple of interesting questions heading into this weekend's event. Should UFC and FOX bench Stephens until his day in court? Or continue on with "innocent until proven guilty?"