As it turns out, Molly McCann doesn’t actually like meatballs.
That may seem odd given the alliterative nickname of “Meatball” that she brings to the octagon, but she may have good reason for it given that she has a somewhat negative association with her past profession. Long before becoming a standout in the UFC’s flyweight division, the Liverpool native worked the late shift at a Subway sandwich shop and she recalled one eventful evening that ended in a scrap and some unexpected heroism on McCann’s part.
She revealed her one-time turn as a vigilante during an appearance on The A-Side live chat on Wednesday.
“This blonde girl’s come in, five in the morning, rotten drunk, stumbling over and then this lad followed her in. … And he’s come in and he’s put his arm around her and I went to him, ‘Hey mate, what’s her name?’ He went, ‘What?’ I went, ‘What’s her name,’ because I just didn’t think he knew her. Something in me belly was like, ‘Nah, this is not… no.’ And he’s like, ‘F*ckin’ shut up, love.’ Could you imagine my face, sayin’ that?
“So then she opens her purse and he’s trying to get the money out the purse and I went, ‘‘Ey, mate, what the f*ck?’ And he went, ‘I’m the police. Who are you talkin’ to?’ I said, ‘You’re not the f*ckin’ police.’”
According to McCann, the assailant called for reinforcements and several other men showed up to the Subway. That didn’t stop McCann from exiting the shop and physically confronting the man, resulting in a brief scuffle before the authorities arrived.
As it turns out, the situation was even more serious than McCann had thought.
“He’s gone to kick me in the head, I’ve leg kicked him, the police have come and took him, I’ve had to go make a statement,” McCann said. “It turns out that he was a sex trafficker and he was trying to take her. They’d watched the cameras and they’d date raped her. They put date rape [drug] in her drink to take her, to steal her, and she would have never been seen again.
“And I was like this [to the police], ‘All in a day’s work, guys!’”
The details were given to McCann after she went to the police station because the woman involved declined to make a statement. So it fell on McCann to make one, which was coincidentally taken by a jiu-jitsu practitioner from her gym. She was reluctant to be involved, but it turned out to be a moot point as she says the man was an illegal immigrant who was later sent home as far as she knows, meaning she wasn’t needed to testify further.
McCann was not yet the high-level fighter she would become and there was no telling what her opponent on that night was capable of. So what motivated her to get involved?
“I was 22,” McCann said. “So that’s quite young to be standing up to a man of a big stature, and then cars outside. But me mom always said, ‘Never back down, Mol. You go down swingin’, girl.’”