Cage Warriors held their 70th event last week. It was a mostly under the radar show, that featured the return of young talent Joseph Duffy in the main event. A quality card, with little fanfare, produced by an organization known for their quality, cards. Unfortunately, beyond Duffy's return to form (a strong third round submission that you can watch here), it also produced a notable-lowlight as prelim fighter Noelia Molina was captured on video rushing into the stands to go after a heckling fan after her technical submission loss to Catherine Costigan.
The loss itself was hard to take, a technical submission via armbar; the sort that happens when a fighter refuses to tap, and the ref decides that they'd be better off stopping the fight anyway. It's the kind of finish no fighter wants to be on the wrong end of; one where they feel deprived of their chance to compete, perhaps in this case, justifiably. After the loss, on her way back stage, Molina overheard a group of fans heckling her, and snapped. Her manager gave an account of the altercation to YourMMA.tv:
"We are a little sad right now because we are facing a controversy about the reaction," said Eric Nardone, Molina's manager and coach.
"Her first feelings were of pure anger followed by total incomprehension, which then immediately left place for sadness and injustice with regards to all the hard work she had done for this fight," he continued, speaking of her state of mind at the time. "In the end she didn't get to show all of what she is capable of, and NOBODY knows if she would have finished by tapping out OR NOT!"
"There wasn't ever an altercation between Noelia and a Costigan fan. On leaving the cage, as Noelia reached the corridor she was insulted verbally by three Costigan fans, followed by inappropriate gestures (the middle finger).
"The state of anger of which Noelia was in at the time took over, and she jumped over the barrier to go and see the girls. I grabbed her mid-air and immediately took her back to the changing room.....nothing more! What happened is regrettable and we are sorry, but I do understand her reaction."
It's a tough place to be in for a fighter early in her career, more notable for something infamous out of the ring, than her in fight performances. Hopefully, next time she enters the cage she'll be better prepared to deal with fan hostility, as heckling and taunting are a pretty common occurrence, especially in smaller arenas where fans are likely to be there to root for a specific fighter. Otherwise, it's just lucky for fans and fighter alike that her coach was able to jump in as quickly as he did.