A warrior. That’s the best way to some up Molly McCann. A warrior who gave a fearsome and passionately driven performance in her hometown to leave victorious against eight year veteran, and former Invicta fighter, Lacey Schuckman. Molly had to battle through grief leading up to the fight as her cousin, Kevin, was sadly taken so quickly and unexpectedly from the McCann family in a car accident. Rather than drop out of the fight, like the fighter she is she overcame her tribulation to honour his memory in her bout at Cage Warriors 82, a tribute that the entirety of the crowd powerfully felt, and went on to triumph at the Echo Arena by unanimous decision, a victory greeted by a deafening roar of Euphoria from the electric local crowd.
McCann entered the press room full of jubilation and cracked jokes with everyone, a showcase of the down to earth personality she upholds and evidence why the the city of Liverpool firmly adores her. She also took the time to greet the crowd as the event was coming to a close to take an abundance of pictures with the impassioned mixed martial arts fans in the arena.
As Molly came across the press room to answer our questions, she even started off the interview herself with her own comments:
“I promised you lads didn’t I? I mean I know I didn’t finish it first round but everything I said to you, I looked in her eyes and said “she’s shook, she’s getting it.” She could’ve finished me in that first round and she threw it away, you can’t keep a good girl down!”
“What was it like walking out in the Echo Arena?”
“I sat there, I shut up, I took it in and I was like wow. That song was my tribute to him [Kevin], the sun’s gonna keep on shining and let’s f****** go get it. I just looked round, I’ve never seen nothing like it, it was like the Madison Square Garden. Being a Scouser to fight here, Tony Bellew’s fought here like the best of the best has fought here. Even the likes of Justin Bieber has been in here! I’ve fought on that stage and I’ve put on a performance that I can be proud of; I gave it my all and I tried to hold myself to a level of greatness and I really f****** tried and I hope I did the city proud.”
That she did. For those in attendance at the Echo Arena, the name “Molly McCann” will be inscribed into their cerebrum as an inspiration who prevailed over her emotional obstacles and left the arena as an idol. The crowd’s support throughout the bout and their cheers post-fight clearly show how proud they really are.
“It was a tough fight, did the crowd play a part in that victory?”
“Yeah, I mean you felt it. NextGen went 4-0 down; knockout, sub, sub, sub, and the mood in the changies just dropped. It was at that point I was flat and Paddy’s been crying, he was devastated because all his best mates have just lost, and I was like “are you going to gee them up and give them that extra 1% it takes to go and win or am I going to go in and feel sorry for myself that the whole team has lost.” We win together, we lose together but f*** that I weren’t losing today. I said to Paul Rimmer, “I promise you, we started this journey three and a half years ago and this was the dream to fight here under Next Generation.” This was the dream and I’ve f****** done it.”
Molly may have valiantly turned the tables for Next Generation Gym after a disheartening streak of losses but, unfortunately for the team, that couldn’t continue. To the disapproval of the crowd who had been ecstatic all night, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett lost his Cage Warriors featherweight title to Nad Narimani on home soil.
“It’s been an emotional few weeks for you, what does this mean to you personally and your family?”
“Well you know what my family is going to be absolutely buzzing. The second it was over and I’d knew I’d won, my chest went tight and I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack. The pressure was on me to perform, the family needed me to win to help with the grief and that might sound mad and weird but the whole family was holding onto it to help them through. I just looked up and I was screaming to him, I didn’t mean to look like an absolute mushroom crying on live telly but I hope everyone felt a little bit of it. Not once did it occur to me like “you’re not taking this fight, this is the one thing that’s going to push you through”. I can’t tell you how hard it was not to break down and quit but I just didn’t stop and I will not stop.”
The arena certainly felt the emotions that were running high and you could see that it drove Molly and empowered her to gaze hardship in the face and leave triumphant. The emotions that were sorrowful and grievous turned to exhilaration and elation as the final round ended. She had to miss attending her cousin’s funeral as she had to participate in the weigh-ins for the event and her family couldn’t make it as they were all still in mourning, but McCann was able to pay her respects in the cage with a crowd of 8,000 fans who honoured her heartwarming tribute.
“What did those moments feel like waiting for the decision to be announced?”
“Nah I’d knew I’d got it. 100% knew, I had cleaner strikes, constant pressure, she took me down two of the three rounds but I got up and I f****** put a pace in. She’s on top of me and she’s like *weak grunting sounds* and I thought “you’re not going to blitz me here, all I’ve got to do is buy my time.” I was waiting for her to throw a quick elbow so I could get out from her back, I can’t even f****** remember what I did really but I got up and did it so get in there!”
“I’ve got to bring it up; the derby. Did that…”
“Yes we lost. I had the weight of a whole Evertonian city on my shoulders and what did I do? F****** brought it home for us! Big Dunc [Duncan Fergurson] sent me a message and he was like “good luck darling”, he doesn’t do f*** all press so I just want to say next time please come and watch mate, it’d mean the world to me. And Tony Bellew! F****** how many times have I got to ask for a tweet?”
“So what’s next for you?”
“Well I want intensity management to manage me, I want to take my career to the highest heights. I am the female Paddy The Baddy. I might not be a grappler but I talk the same s*** and I finish fights and give you a good show for your money. First of all, I’m going to have a drink with my friends and family and enjoy myself lads!”
At just 26 years old and six professional fights under her belt, you can’t deny that Molly’s future in the sport of MMA is radiant. The now second ranked pound for pound female fighter in the UK may be touching distance away from a glistening career that may lead to Invicta and the ultimate destination of the UFC. Until those promotions come, however, feel grateful that we are able to witness such a commanding female fighter live in this country. Someone who is able to gallantly fight through emotional hardships and come out the other end as the victor.
A warrior by all accounts.