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Molly McCann reveals the reason she left her gloves in the cage after UFC Vegas 18 loss

UFC Fight Night: McCann v Procopio Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

It was another tough night for “Meatball” Molly McCann as the Liverpudlian lost to Lara Procopio on the scorecards at UFC Vegas 18, which took place inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Procopio, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, controlled McCann on the ground for the majority of the match, earning a 29–27, 29–28, 30–27 unanimous decision and handing Molly her second defeat in a row. After the fight, an emotional McCann removed her gloves and laid them in the ring, typically a signal that a fighter has decided to retire.

But, shortly after that display, “Meatball” took to social media to explain the move.

“Before I get into it, I left the gloves in the cage for my dad,” McCann wrote. “There’s still fight in this old dog yet.”

While McCann’s father died before she made it into the UFC in 2018, her fight with Procopio at UFC Vegas 18 just happened to fall on his birthday.

“I said, ‘Well, I’m going to give him the best f—king birthday present ever,’” McCann declared in a interview before the fight. “When the chips are down, and I’m getting my head punched in, I’m getting nearly choked out, or I’m getting choked out, or I’m getting my orbital bone smashed to bits or I’m getting my nose broken with knees to the face, I don’t stop because of him, and I know how hard he fought for each day, and I’m going to fight harder.

“Fighters draw from pain, and he always wanted to see me fight (in Las Vegas), so I have to do it for him,” she concluded. “The only thing I can give back is to honor his memory. This is it. Fighting for your family’s last name and for their honor is what you do, so it’s only going to push me one way come Saturday night.”

While McCann didn’t end up earning the win on Saturday night, she did show a lot of improvement against a stylistically tough opponent. The blueprint to mince “Meatball” has always been to take her down and not engage in her brawls. And while that once again worked for Procopio, McCann was much harder to keep on the ground this time round and almost ended up submitting her opponent in the second round.

With a few more camps (and less COVID-19 restrictions), who knows ... McCann could snap this losing streak and go on another run like in 2019 where she went 3-0. We’re sure her dad will be proud no matter how things go.

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