This was a total shambles… Mexico City fans should be ashamed…
Imagine a scenario where you move to another country for six weeks. You’re away from your family and you spend $30,000 to be there. However, you’re a true warrior and you know that this is what you need to do to get yourself in the best condition to win your next fight.
That’s what Jeremy Stephens did to prepare for his fight against Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez. The two top-10 contenders were set to duke it out in the main event of UFC Mexico City this weekend, but things ended very badly. After a night of action and entertainment, the main event was abruptly called off because of an eye poke.
It was an unfortunate ending to this eagerly-anticipated clash. To make matters even worse, the fans decided to take their fury on Stephens, despite him being unable to even open his left eye. It was ridiculous and embarrassing.
Can’t recall ever seeing behavior like this from fans at a UFC event. Maybe I’m forgetting one, but not even in the early days. Gross. pic.twitter.com/12QqIl8hod
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 22, 2019
Rodriguez v Stephens had the potential to be one of the sleeper hits of the year. They have very different styles of fighting, but they’re both incredibly entertaining. Rodriguez was headlining in Mexico for the first time. The Chihuahua native is well-known for his flashy striking. Just ask Chan Sung Jung how dangerous and unorthodox he can be.
Meanwhile, Stephen is a true warrior. With 29 wins and 16 losses, he’s been around the professional game a long time. So, fans were confident that this was going to be a great fight. Rodriguez started brightly, catching Stephens with a front kick to the face, but it would all end too quickly.
— Eric Gomez (@EricGomez86) September 22, 2019
As Rodriguez stepped in, he swiped at Stephens’s face. The American’s hands went straight to his face and we all knew something was wrong. ‘Lil’ Heathen’ is one of the grittiest, toughest guys on the roster, so if he was in pain it was for real. He had five minutes to prove that he was ready to get back in there.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to continue. Credit where it’s due to referee Herb Dean. Over the past year or two, he’s come in for a lot of criticism. This time though he was brilliant and patient. Dean didn’t put pressure on Stephens and took his time bringing the doctor into the octagon.
He gave Stephens every chance to prove that he could open his eye but sadly for the fans and for the Iowa-native, it just didn’t happen.
This is sucks 🙄 #UFCMexico
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) September 22, 2019
This is where things got messy. In short, the fans were furious that their main event was finished in 15 seconds. Sure, it was a major anti-climax, but that doesn’t forgive what they did next. Security escorted Stephens out of the cage as bottles rained down overhead.
Some members of the sports desk actually hid under tables as glass bottles came raining down from the sky. Not Michael Bisping though. The former middleweight champion stood there glaring out at the crowd. When he went into the cage to interview Yair Rodriguez, the Mexican fighter almost swung on him. Then he realised who it was and instantly apologised.
It was a mess. We need to run this one back.