Brazilian fans didn’t have much to cheer for during the main card at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro as four of the five locals on the card fell to their foreign opponents. Fortunately, Jessica Andrade turned the tide in the headline bout, showing true grit by taking the belt of Rose Namajunas with a sudden slam knockout in the second round (watch the finish here).
But before that? Bad times. Not only did crowd favorite Jose Aldo get stalled out by Alexander Volkanovski in their fight, but Anderson Silva got cut down with a kick to the knee from Jared Cannonier that left the legend screaming on the canvas. The 15,000+ fans in the Jeunesse Arena showered Cannonier with boos, and Cannonier did not take their anger well.
In case it didn't translate on the broadcast, this is how loud Jared Cannonier was booed by the Rio crowd.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 12, 2019
It may be the loudest live crowd that I've heard at a UFC event that I've covered on location. pic.twitter.com/GvkA1uNqtv
”It was definitely disrespectful,” Cannonier told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter shortly after the fight. “You know, I don’t take disrespect lightly. I don’t want to say anything that’ll get me assassinated, but one thing I will say is I’m not going to act like I like you if you don’t like me. So if that’s the way you wanna play it, if that’s the game you wanna play, if you wanna make an enemy out of me, I’m not the one you wanna be an enemy with. They got a millions of people here so they feel ballsy. One on one it’s a different story, they won’t be saying that.”
”That’s all I am, I’m always initially respectful, and they’re initially backing their man. But I think their type of behavior is not conducive to progressing the sport. It shows disrespect to the fighters. We just gave you a show and you guys are just mad about it because the person you wanted to win didn’t win. That shows a level of immaturity if you ask me. And fans are relatively immature. I’ve seen the comments, they say some of the stupidest things. Somebody said I was on roids when I’ve been tested four times this year already.”
Jared Cannonier very upset about the fans in Rio disrespecting him following his win over Anderson Silva pic.twitter.com/OAQ26YzGVD— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 12, 2019
”I understand the fans being upset that their guy’s lost,” he continued. “But you start flipping me the bird and saying lord knows what in Portugueese, you could be calling me the N-word and I wouldn’t even know. Saying all sorts of stuff about whatever! I’m not going to sit here and act like it’s all good, because in my book that ain’t cool. You ain’t gonna disrespect me in my face and get away with it. You’re gonna know you just made an enemy out of me and I’m not going to be smiling in your face. If anything, I’m liable to give you a backhand.”
Cannonier did finish the interview off by stressing his respect for Brazil in general, if not the way some of its citizens behave at fights.
”I’m not here to go to war with all of Brazil,” he said. “If anything, the opportunity to come here just expands my perspective. I love travelling, I love going to new places and seeing new people and different cultures, hearing the new language. ... Brazilians have always been a prominent part of the sport. They’ve been integral to the sport if you ask me. I have the utmost respect for this country, especially since there’s a big disparity between the haves and have nots, and I have an affinity for the have nots.”