Randy Brown describes frustration of chasing Michael Chiesa for a fight: ‘I just want the notch’

Randy Brown ran into UFC commentator and top 15 welterweight Michael Chiesa in the halls of UFC APEX this past Saturday at UFC Vegas 85.

Chiesa was working the desk for the ESPN+ event, while Brown was fighting on it – and fighting very well, if a blistering first-round knockout of Muslim Salikhov was any indication.

Brown’s respect for Chiesa reached back to his days as an amateur MMA fighter watching The Ultimate Fighter 15, which Chiesa won decisively. But those warm feelings had cooled as he’d sought to climb the welterweight rankings with a fight.

“I was just like, ‘Bro, what’s up, man? What are we doing? What are we really doing?’” Brown said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “Just tell me you’re not interested yourself so I can just f*** off, because I’m not bullying you or nothing. I don’t want to pick on you.

“I’m down to fight anybody, but I think that we make for a good fight, and I truly have a ton of respect for dude. I think that the dude is a legend in his own right, because he’s been around for so long.”

Chiesa did not respond to a request for comment by MMA Fighting.

After trying and failing to get Chiesa to sign a contract, Brown got more public with his requests, which he said stretched back to his early days as a UFC fighter.

“I called him out before, and me and him had a conversation,” Brown said. “I saw him in Vegas. I was with Joe Pyfer. He told me he was down to fight. I asked him about it respectfully, we just had a conversation, and at the time, it made more sense than when I called him out back in Brazil. He was like, ‘Yeah, sure, let’s do it. We’ll make it happen. I’ll talk to my people, see if we can get them talking to the UFC.’

“I’m like, ‘All right.’ I didn’t do it in a way where I put him on the spot so he has to say that, you know what I mean? It was just me and him, and then nothing happened. I saw him again in Madison Square Garden, and me and him had the same conversation again, just us again. He was like, ‘Yeah, man, I’m sorry, we’re definitely going to get it done.’ Yada, yada, all that stuff. So I reach out to the UFC, and apparently, the UFC is like, ‘That’s not something he’s interested in.’”

Brown would have left it there, he said, were it not for Chiesa’s dual role as a commentator. Watching a 2021 win over Jared Gooden, he believed the TUF winner’s call of his fight was a little more critical than warranted.

“I had a great performance,” Brown said. “Yeah, I broke my toe, but he was very critical in the things that he was saying, and I felt it was because of me wanting to fight him. So that’s why he was saying the things that he said.

“So after that, I decided let me try to fight him again. So I DMed him, and when I DMed him, he told me that he didn’t see the message. Immediately, he went and he called out someone else. He called out Colby Covington right after Colby Covington’s loss, and I’m like, all right, I guess he wants to fight up, which makes sense. But I’m like, bro, you’re on a losing streak. You should probably fight somebody that’s coming up, and I thought who better to fight than me. That’ll be a good fight.

“So I messaged him, he claimed he didn’t see it.”

That led Brown to another face-to-face in the hallway of the UFC’s fight production facility. Chiesa, he said, repeated the same talking points as before and “promised” they would meet in the octagon. He’s not holding his breath.

“But I have a gut feeling maybe we’ll see now that people are talking about it,” Brown said. “I just want the notch. It could be him, it could be [Neil] Magny, it could be those guys that I looked up to when I was coming up.”

The problem for fighters like Brown, of course, is that fighting up requires someone to fight down. In this case, that’s Chiesa, who despite a three-fight skid is No. 14 on the UFC’s list. A fight with Brown would guarantee Chiesa got bounced, further damaging his career.

Understandably, Brown is frustrated by the situation.

“I think that I think that everyone wants to fight up,” he said. “That’s the problem. And I think that once you enter the top 15, I think you should be prepared to fight anyone with a number at any time.

“I call it the welter-wait division, because it seems like everybody just wants to wait for the perfect moment. When you’re a welterweight, and you’re considered the one of the best in the world, if you’re truly the best in the world, you fight anybody, anybody with a number next to their name. You show up and you fight them. So it is weird. It is an issue, and I don’t have the answers, but guys need to just fight each other. [They] talk a big game online, they talk all this stuff, but when it’s time to really show up and put their name on a piece of paper, they ain’t doing it.”

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