At Saturday’s pay-per-view in Houston, Texas, O’Neill extended her unbeaten professional record to 9-0, added an established name to her résumé, and climbed three spots to #12 on the 125-pound ladder.
She accomplished those feats by securing a split-decision victory over the retiring Modafferi on the February 12 prelims, although you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone other than judge Robert Alexander who scored the fight in favor of “The Happy Warrior.”
While the pre-fight and immediate post-fight narrative centered around the final hurrah of one of the pioneers of women’s MMA, “King Casey” carved her own storyline during her Octagon interview with Daniel Cormier. When telling the crowd to not boo her failed to do the trick, the Scottish-Australian prospect embraced her villainy and flipped the bird to the sold-out Toyota Center.
During her appearance at the post-fight press conference, O’Neill re-affirmed her willingness to play the ‘heel’ role, claiming she’ll be the “best bad guy” fans have ever seen.
“I’m not an American and I’m in America. I have to expect some boos,” admitted O’Neill. “When you’re fighting a fan favorite, it’s to be expected as well. Everybody loves Roxanne. If they want me to be the bad guy, I’ll be the best bad guy you’ve ever seen.”
O’Neill To UFC 271 Crowd: You’re Drinking Beers While I’m Getting Sh*t Done
As O’Neill admitted, a frosty reception was to be expected at UFC 271. A young rising contender from outside the US sent a veteran American fighter into retirement with a defeat in Houston; you’d be worried about the crowd if there weren’t boos.
However, the 24-year-old believes she deserved a little more respect from those in attendance. That, coupled with her frustration at the lack of attention on her own game and progress prior to the event, perhaps led to O’Neill’s explosive post-fight remarks.
She further told the press following the contest that while it wasn’t a good feeling, those booing her were doing so with a beverage in their hands while she went to work and got “shit done.”
“That was kinda shit. But it is what it is, you know,” said O’Neill. “At the end of the day, they’re buying tickets and they’re watching me, so, you’re paying me whether you like me or you don’t.
“Whatever you wanna do, I don’t care… If they wanna boo me, you know, they’re sitting on their seats, watching me, drinking beers, and I’m out there getting shit done. That’s the difference.”
While she perhaps hadn’t reached fan-favorite status prior to UFC 271, O’Neill has certainly had a Macbeth-esque moment with her Octagon interview and subsequent comments. But if there’s one person ready to embrace the ‘heel’ role, it’s “King Casey” O’Neill.
What did you make of Casey O’Neill’s reaction to the crowd’s boos at UFC 271?