O’Neill: Focus On Modafferi’s Retirement Pre-UFC 271 Was “Disrespectful”

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UFC women’s flyweight Casey O’Neill believes the pre-fight focus on opponent Roxanne Modafferi’s retirement ahead of UFC 271 was “disrespectful.”

In the one and only women’s fight on this past weekend’s pay-per-view card, two 125lbers at opposite ends of the MMA scale collided. While O’Neill was looking to extend her unbeaten record to 9-0 and climb further towards title contention, Modafferi was hoping to close out her 46-fight career with a triumph.

After 15 minutes of action on the prelims, it was O’Neill who had her hand raised via split decision. While “The Happy Warrior” gave it her all and made a good account of herself, there was little debate about who earned the nod, despite one dissenting judge.

What followed was a heart-warming final Octagon interview and farewell to active competition for a woman widely regarded as a pioneer for female MMA.

While O’Neill gave credit to Modafferi following the fight and showed respect for the veteran campaigner, she also revealed her frustration at the amount of attention directed towards Modafferi’s retirement ahead of their clash inside Houston’s Toyota Center.

While speaking to the media at the UFC 271 post-fight press conference, “King Casey” admitted her annoyance at the fact her own goals and pre-fight preparations were being overlooked.

Given that her opponent’s retirement wasn’t official until after their fight, the Scottish-Australian contender suggested the questions and discussion about it were “premature” during fight week.

“I was (annoyed). I felt like nobody was giving me any respect or asking me anything about myself,” admitted O’Neill. “It was all about the retirement. To be honest, the retirement wasn’t happening until after the fight, so I felt like it was a little bit premature to just be talking about that. I wanted to talk about myself, and what I’d been doing, and my game plan, and everything. I just felt like I was being brushed over and it was a little bit disrespectful.”

O’Neill: I Deserved More Respect From The Crowd At UFC 271

During her post-fight interview, O’Neill was showered with boos from the Houston crowd, who showed an immense amount of love for Modafferi. The 24-year-old employed the tactic of telling them not to boo her. Who’d have thought that wouldn’t work?

After being asked about the crowd reaction at the post-fight presser, O’Neill pinpointed the boos as another element of disrespect she felt at the PPV. While she expected a negative reaction given the scenario and her nationality, “King Casey” believes she deserved more respect from the fans.

“Listen, Roxanne is liked by everybody, so of course, I’m gonna get booed,” said O’Neill. “I’m also not American and I’m fighting in America. To be (honest), I feel like I deserved a little more respect than that.”

Having said she’s happy to be the “bad guy” if that’s what fans want, O’Neill’s latest remarks certainly continued that narrative…

What do you make of Casey O’Neill’s comments? Is she right to feel disrespected at the pre-UFC 271 focus?

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