Following her recent loss against Erin Blanchfield, UFC star Molly McCann has said she is unclear of when she will return to competitive action.
At UFC 281 last month in New York, the American put an end to McCann’s incredible three-match winning streak, defeating him through submission in the opening round. The 32-year-old was repeatedly struck hard by her opponent and was compelled to submit in order to stop the pain.
‘Meatball Molly’, who hopes to take a break from the sport as she seeks a feeling of normality in her life after having a stratospheric ascent in her career, still feels the anguish of November 12 one month after this battle.
At a charity event in Liverpool, McCann took some time to think back on her first UFC defeat since February 2021, telling the ECHO: “I’m not going to lie, it is still with me every day. If you can picture that the desire you’ve had since you were a child was to compete in Madison Square Garden and then you don’t really get to perform the way you want, it nearly seems like the loss of a loved one. It has a nasty aftertaste.
“When I look back, the pros are that I received a hero’s welcome, unlike when I left Liverpool and she was booed. She [Blanchfield] was jeered much more after I lost. What helps you through the tough times is knowing that you are the favourite of the people.
The Liverpudlian has made 2022, along with fellow UFC fighter Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett, mostly one to remember thanks to victories over Hannah Goldy, Luana Carolina, and Ji Yeon Kim.
The Merseyside duo has revolutionised the sport over the past year and still stands by one another both inside and outside the octagon, but a fast-paced period marked by so many highs has gradually worn them down. McCann has decided to withdraw from UFC 286, which will take place on March 18 in London, in order to take some time to find who she really is.
Since the fight, I haven’t returned to the gym because of a family bereavement, she told the ECHO. “I didn’t want to dampen the mood or diminish the brilliance of my training partners in light of Paddy’s previous experience [UFC 282]. I’m Molly McCann, and although I always return and will return at some point, I can’t say when. At UFC London in March, I won’t be there.
When we fight, a lot is expected of me, Paddy, Darren [Till], and Tom Aspinall. You must be prepared for everything, including the camp and the media. I’ll wait to feel that need until after some downtime. For a moment, I want to be Molly. Since it has been “The Meatball” and the Molly and Paddy show for the past two years. People aren’t really aware of who I am. I realise this sounds crazy. I don’t get to live a typical life, therefore I would like a few months where I could take my dogs on walks. Prepare my own meals, and volunteer in my neighbourhood. With KnifeSavers, which educates people how to stop bleeding after a knife assault, and Weapons Down, Gloves Up. I’m doing so much.
Molly McCann is adamant that the pressures associated with being a professional athlete are frequently disregarded. She cites two players from the men’s national football team of England to support her claim.
For instance, Marcus Rashford,” the MMA profesionalist remarked. “Look at him post-Euros; he’s just now starting to emerge from being a shell of a guy. People are unpredictable, and those with poor emotional intelligence often speak about things they have little knowledge of or comprehension of.
Imagine Bukayo Saka when he took that final penalty for England at Euro 2020. I often say when I’m in the cage. You’re doing that one thing in front of everyone. I’m not implying that my fights are that big. I’m talking about the pressure and how it makes you feel. When I see Everton play football, I’m like. “What is going on here?” but I never criticise them personally because I understand what it’s like. While you can critique performance, becoming too personal is overboard.