ONE Championship have officially removed Chi Lewis-Parry from the Heavyweight title headline against Brandon Vera at ONE Spirit of Champions on December 11.
With a media storm currently brewing around this situation; which has been ongoing for weeks now, Lewis-Parry spoke exclusively to MMA PLUS to give his side of the story.
The first major accusation from Vera and Victor Cui was that Lewis-Parry refused to abide to media obligations, which the Brit strongly refuted.
“The [pre-fight] press conference, they didn’t fly me out, they didn’t book a flight, they told me they didn’t want me,” said Lewis-Parry. “I had a dispute, originally they wanted me to gout there for ages, but I was only allowed to go on my own. I said, ‘I’m not coming out there for two weeks for a press conference, let me bring my trainer’.
“They said no, you’re not allowed to [bring my coach]. So I said I can’t come for two weeks, but I can come for the press conference, I think it was like five days or something, I said I could do because it’s a long time to take off training when you’re four weeks away from a comp.
“Then they turned around and said ‘actually we don’t need you for the press conference’, so they didn’t book me a flight, they didn’t do nothing. I kicked up a bit of a fuss about that.”
ONE CEO Cui claimed the reason behind Lewis-Parry’s removal from the main event was because he failed ‘to submit his medical results and his drug tests’ and ‘decided not to board the plane departing from London to Manila’, he said on his Facebook page.
“The accusations from Victor Cui is a blatant lie, all paperwork, blood results, urine tests, they’ve got all of that. They are making out that I failed to send it, but they have everything. If that’s the best lie that you can come up with to save the face of the promotion and save this title fight, then that’s embarrassing. The transparency of it, people can see straight through it. It’s a shame that such an MMA giant promotion is behaving this way.”
After the news broke that Lewis-Parry would not travel to Manilla, former UFC fighter Vera took to his Facebook page and posted a video attacking the Brit, calling him ‘a c*nt’.
“In a year and a half that I’ve been campaigning for this fight, Brandon Vera has not interacted with me but once, and that’s because I was in his face in San Diego at GLORY. Because I genuinely believe he has been worried for this fight, the minute it’s confirmed he will not have to face me, he’s got a big mouth all of a sudden. Now he wants to talk smack, and he’s doing a video and he’s using foul language.
“I talk a lot of crap, but I never, never attack people’s families or their loved ones, because at the end of the day I’m not classless. That speaks volumes for him and the promotion of ONE Championship, because they are perfect for each other because neither of them have morals or respect.”
The 32-year old also revealed his interactions with Cui in Singapore, where the CEO reportedly told him the fight with Vera ‘will never happen’, and Lewis-Parry believes that was the plan all along.
“I went to Singapore just after GLORY 21, I returned from San Diego and I went straight out to Singapore like a week later. At the after-party [Warrior’s Quest] I’m sitting there with Victor Cui. I ask for the Brandon Vera fight and he flat out tells me the Brandon Vera fight will never happen because Brandon is a company man, they pay him a salary, and that’s good for them in the Philippines. So his words, ‘we cannot have him lose’.
“I said, you need to give me something, if you want to make Brandon the champion, let me fight at Super-Heavyweight.
“Then I came back, and said Brandon Vera was scared to fight me, then all of a sudden I get a call. I’m in bed in The States, at like 2am, and Matt Hume is telling me ‘how would you like to fight Brandon for the title?’ I was like that doesn’t make no sense, you guys just told me it weren’t going to happen. I backed them into a corner where they had to give me the fight, but their real intention was they were never going to have me fight.”
Brandon Vera will now face Taiwan’s Paul Cheng, who Lewis-Parry believes ‘was in the mix long before I knew it, these guys knew long before they were letting on’.
The London based fighter clinically stated that although ONE have great reach in the Asian market, elsewhere ‘no one actually cares’.
“They are not UFC and they are not Bellator, they are not World Series of Fighting, they are nothing in comparison. No one actually cares outside of Asia. If you’re not one of these EVOLVE affiliated fighter, you’re not going to get nothing.”
In response to these on-goings, “Chopper Chi” stated he would ‘absolutely’ be taking up legal actions against ONE Championship.
“There’s a lot of slander, they’re using my name as if I’m bad for promotions, like I don’t turn up and do my obligations or my duties. That’s not true, because [ONE Championship] kept me away. They even said about me not getting on my flight, but I’m not being funny, when someone from your office calls me and tells me I’m no longer required, then why am I going to get on a flight? No one would do that. I just wish they would be honest about it.”
Now resolved to life after ONE Championship, Lewis-Parry looks to the future and wants to help other fights caught in similar, uncompromising situations.
“I think because I have quite a prominent voice, I’m quite outspoken, then I need to utilise the attention that I’ve got right now to make a stand for a lot of the others fighters going through the same crap. Because there are a lot of fighters trapped in contracts with ONE, it’s not just me. I would like to align myself with former rival James McSweeney, he’s actually a gentlemen and I respect that he was going through the same thing.
“Anyway I can make a change, if there is anyone out there interested in teaming up with me and maybe starting a Union of something and changing the face of the game, then I’m all ears.”