While the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 17 in Mexico City ended up being a complete mess, at least the co-main event paid off entertainment wise. Alexa Grasso and Carla Esparza put on a Fight of the Night performance across 15 minutes, with Esparza surviving a third round rally from Grasso to earn a majority decision win.
Unfortunately for Esparza, Grasso was the hometown favorite and some of the more uncouth fans at Mexico City Arena booed her heavily right through her post-fight victory interview. Things got even more cruddy on her way backstage when someone dumped a beer on her.
“It’s just unfortunate and I understand that the Mexican fans are so passionate and they really stand behind their fighters,” Esparza told press backstage. “And I’ve definitely fought in a lot of people’s hometowns, but definitely this was the most passionate crowd I’ve ever been in front of. The sad thing was that there were a couple of bad seeds in the crowd.”
“I was walking out and somebody poured a beer on me. It just made me really sad because people win and lose, but you can’t control the judges, and I felt that I fairly won the fight and it was just really sad for me.”
Of course this was just a taste of things to come. When the Rodriguez vs. Stephens main event was ruled a No Contest just 15 seconds in due to an accidental eye poke, the arena erupted into an orgy of flying food and bottles.
“I hate that type of behavior,” Esparza added when asked about the main event fiasco. “This is a sport. We all go out there and we give it our all. We work so hard to lead up to these fights and I wish those fans — obviously that’s not everyone here — would have more respect.”
”It put a damper on it, but I’ve been so welcomed here in Mexico,” she added. “Even a family opened their home to me, their gym to me. There’s been so many amazing fans out here, so it doesn’t put a bad taste in my mouth for all of Mexico. I mean, I have Mexican blood in it. There’s so many amazing people here, it’s just unfortunate there’s a few bad apples in the crowd.”
Esparza moves up to 15-6 and finds herself on a two fight win streak. Grasso drops to 11-3 and continues to struggle with stringing together wins.