Michel Pereira Upset Anthony Pettis Turned Him Down, Pettis Clarifies

Chris Unger - Zuffa LLC

Michel Pereira was disappointed not to be fighting Anthony Pettis this weekend.

Pereira meets Khaos Williams on the featured prelim bout of UFC Vegas 17 on Saturday night. Pettis, meanwhile, is set to take on Alex Morono on the same card.

However, Pereira was originally looking to fight the former UFC lightweight champion in Pettis only to be told he was injured. Instead, both fighters are competing on the same card against different opponents and Pereira believes that’s due to Pettis being afraid to fight him.

“I’m upset with Anthony Pettis because he said he was hurt, he had a back injury, and wouldn’t fight me, and I understood that, he’s hurt and can’t fight, OK, but now he’s fighting on the same card on the 19th,” Pereira told MMA Fighting. “So why isn’t he fighting me? Is he scared? Or is it because I’m not ranked? Why? I almost didn’t get a fight in December because he was stalling for a month to say yes or no. He said no, and now he’s also fighting on the 19th.”

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“I think it’s fear, right? It can only be fear. I don’t know. He can’t fight me but will fight someone else? I think it’s fear. … I know many fighters in my division are afraid of me, but time will come for me to fight them all. With my humbleness, focus, discipline and charisma, I’ll reach the top and get my moment.”

Pettis, however, would clarify why that ended up being the case while acknowledging that he was offered a fight with Pereira.

“When they offered me a fight on the 19th, I was looking at the 12th, the last fight card,” Pettis said. “If I’m gonna fight, I’d rather be on the last card fight of year, get an extra week. This was probably three weeks ago. I think they offered him [Pereira] to my agent for the 12th and I’m like, ‘I’d rather have the extra week.’ During that one week of negotiations when [Leon] Edwards got his COVID test results and pulled out because of COVID, that opened up a spot on the 19th card and I hit up Dana [White] myself [and said], ‘Dana, let me get on that card.’

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“Dana sends me five names and he’s like, these are the guys available. That guy’s name wasn’t on that list. I know who he is because he’s tried the ‘Showtime Kick,’ and he did it a couple of times, but he’s mistaken that he thinks I’m afraid. I already fought the guy who’s in the main event of the card, why would I be afraid to fight this dude?”

Pettis would clap back further about the notion that he was scared to fight the Brazilian.

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“Maybe he should look at who I fought and then he can tell me if I’m afraid to fight a guy like him,” Pettis added. “A guy like him, especially since he comes from a striking background, maybe our paths will cross. But it wasn’t in God’s plan right now for us to fight. I don’t really gotta speak on that; I feel like he has to talk the talk to get a fight with me. These guys want to fight me, these guys want to get in the octagon with me.”

What do you think of Pereira’s statement and the response of Pettis? Would you like to see them fight in the future?

Experienced freelance sports writer covering mixed martial arts (MMA) extensively for the last few years. Likes a good body shot.