UFC Mexico was a bad night for Jeremy Stephens’ career. After being poked in the eye by Yair Rodriguez and having the fight end via No Contest because he was unable to continue, he had beer thrown at him by the disgruntled fans in attendance.
But for “Lil’ Heathen,” the reaction from the crowd was understandable.
“No, I like beer – they were throwing beer. I get it. Trust me, I get it,” Stephens told MMA Fighting on Monday. “I know how the Mexican crowd was, I knew they were booing me. I love that situation. I actually love being the underdog or the bad guy. I totally get it.
“It would have been the same thing if I won. I would have knocked him out, I’m always jumping over [the cage], hugging my wife, who knows what would have happened. Nothing I can do. It’s out of my control.”
While he does recognize that things got out of hand, Stephens welcomes that kind of animosity from the fans, especially when entering enemy territory.
“I just felt bad for the people who were trying to protect my family and the other people, because some of those people ended up getting hurt,” he said. “I heard Carla Esparaza had a beer thrown on her before she even came out. That’s not class at all, but that’s expected when you go to another country. They’re rivals and crazy fans.
“I actually kind of embrace that chaos. It was just one of those weird nights. I don’t hold any ill will.”
Rodriguez and Stephens will get to run it back sooner than later, as the UFC announced the re-booking of the fight as the co-headliner for UFC Boston on October 18th.