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Jared Cannonier explains viral clip of reaction to Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann at UFC 274

UFC middleweight title challenger Jared Cannonier’s reaction, or lack thereof, to cameras as Aljamain Sterling, Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett hammed it up was one of the funnier moments of UFC 274.

Cannonier said he was just being himself, and he’s not hating on his colleagues for having a little fun.

“I’m there to watch the fights,” Cannonier said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I’m there to watch the circus, not be a part of the circus. No offense to anybody involved, I respect each and every one of my cohorts. I’m just doing me. They’re doing them – that’s me. I’m staying in my zone, I’m staying in my energy, I’m protecting my energy. I really don’t like being surrounded by a lot of people who I don’t know, who I’m not familiar with, who I don’t trust. I guess it’s a stigma I picked up from the army – I don’t like being around a lot of people.

“But that’s just me. It’s not like I’m anti-social. It’s not like I was sitting there, grouchety-grumpy for people making that assumption. I had a neutral look on my face, and I noticed the camera was right there; people see a camera and they start acting all kinds of ways, with that artificial eye watching them, people act all kinds of ways. Like I said, I’m not there to be a part of the circus. I’m there to watch. I was there to watch some fights, to learn, to be right there – I was right there front and center. I was able to project myself very easily into these fights. I was tensing up and moving – I was watching fights, so that’s what I was doing. Everybody else was having a good time, which is fine, because I was, too. But that’s me. I’m not a real party animal. I’m certainly not drinking at this point and time, especially not drinking beer or hard liquor.”

At that moment, Cannonier’s wife had just gotten up from her seat, leaving him alone with his colleagues. It wasn’t the first time that they’d made a scene.

“Molly, she was getting a little rowdy,” he said. “Every time I look up at the screen, I kept seeing her drink, hovering above our heads. Me and my wife, we got a little bit of beer on the back of us, but no biggie. It’s all good. They didn’t douse us. We got spritzed a little bit every now and again.”

As a Phoenix local, Cannonier took advantage of the UFC card at Footprint Center and also got recognized for what could be the biggest event of his career – a title fight against current champ Israel Adesanya. The fight is scheduled to headline UFC 276 on July 2 as the climax to International Fight Week.

Cannonier’s road to the title took a detour with a decision loss to ex-champ Robert Whittaker. But after back-to-back wins in fights against Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson, the latter of which produced a brutal highlight-reel knockout, he again earned the endorsement of the champ.

In other words, it’s a serious time in Cannonier’s life. But he wasn’t upset at McCann and Pimblett, who just a few weeks ago did their jobs in spectacular fashion in separate appearances at UFC London.

“They were rowdy man, especially Molly, man,” Cannonier said. “She’s cool. They’re all cool. I have no qualms with any of them. But they was doing them, and I can’t hate on them. I’m not going to sit here and judge anybody based off of what they do, based of their upbringing, their experiences.

“S***, they have every right to do what they want to do, as long as they aren’t hurting anybody or impeding nobody else from doing what they want to do, they can do whatever the hell they want to do.”