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UFC's Leslie Smith defends female friend by beating the crap out of male groper

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Carlos Condit wasn't the only UFC fighter to score an important TKO victory with elbows this weekend.

Women's bantamweight stalwart Leslie Smith says she beat up a man who groped her friend, and took a swing at her, outside a San Francisco bar Saturday night. Smith's coach Cesar Gracie wrote about the incident on Facebook on Sunday.

Smith told that she was about to enter The Mint in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco with fellow UFC fighter Heather Jo Clark, Clark's boyfriend and a female friend of Smith when a man passed behind them and grabbed Smith's friend's butt.

"I followed him and I was like, 'Hey, you can't do that,'" Smith said. "And he was like, 'I can do whatever I want.' And I was like, 'No, you can't.' Then he turned around and spit on me and threw a big right hand."

He didn't connect. Instead, he grabbed Smith's hair and the two got into somewhat of a clinch. Obviously the guy, who was bigger than Smith, didn't realize he was scrapping with a UFC fighter who trains with the likes of Gilbert Melendez and the Diaz brothers.

"He had my hair, so I pushed him against a building and then I double-legged him," Smith said. "I took him down against the cage and then I started to take his back, but his hair was really gross and it didn't quite feel right."

Smith is recovering from meniscus surgery, so she decided it would be too risky to take his back and get the full hooks in. So, she went with Plan B.

"I let go of that and just dropped elbows on him," Smith said. "He turned over and I just dropped elbows on him from mount against the building until he started saying, 'I'm sorry.' Then I stopped as soon as he said sorry, because that was really the only thing I went over there for."

Smith, 32, said police never got involved. She wasn't sure coming out publicly about the incident initially until she saw how her friends reacted to the story.

"It has given my friend and all of my female friends so much pleasure to know that happened," Smith said. "It's not an unusual thing for a woman, a good-looking woman in public to get grabbed and fondled by strangers. At first, I was trying to keep the whole thing on the down low and not say anything about it, but after seeing how happy it has made so many women, I changed my mind."

Smith (7-6-1), who ironically was running self-defense seminars at Gracie's gym the last two weekends, is one of the most entertaining and resilient fighters in the women's 135-pound division. But she considers herself a pacifist outside the Octagon. After all, her nickname is "The Peacemaker." Smith doesn't believe in initiating violence, but she thinks what she did in this situation was right.

"It's happened to me before," Smith said. "I don't think I know a single woman who hasn't been in a situation where there was a dude who came too close to her and violated her personal space.

"It's a situation where if a dude did that to another dude, there would be a fight. That wouldn't happen in the first place. When I saw people reacting to it so happily, I was like, OK we can share it. Let's share it."

Right now, Smith is recovering from meniscus surgery and has not been cleared by doctors to train fully. She won't be cleared for at least another six weeks. Smith, whose ear was popped in a bloody mess in a loss to Jessica Eye at UFC 180 in November, will have get by with just that street fight for another few months.

"At first I was super embarrassed, like, Oh jeez, I'm fighting with people," Smith said. "That's totally against my style. I believe in the non-initiation of violence. I don't think that going out and fighting people is the best way to do it. I think violence like fire needs to be controlled and it's a part of us. It's an essential part of our lives and that's why we need to keep such a close rein on it while making sure to give it an outlet."

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