The preliminary fights at UFC 259 have been soured by an ugly exchange between two fighters that was picked up by broadcast microphones.
Commentators Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan were left shocked by a mid-fight slanging match between flyweight Tim Elliott and rival Jordan Espinosa.
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In the tense exchange, which could more easily be heard with no fans in attendance in Las Vegas, Elliott accused his rival of being a 'woman-basher'.
“I heard you choked a girl in 2018. Are you a woman beater? Are you a f***ing woman beater?” Elliot could be heard asking.
Espinosa responded by saying "You don’t know the full story" - to which Elliott retorted "I know enough."
A furious Espinosa shot back, "You don't know sh*t."
The exchange, which happened between to lower ranked fighters ahead of the headlining bout between Israel Adesanya and Jan Blachowicz, left the commentators stunned.
Cormier, a UFC great, was practically lost for words.
“Wow, that’s ugly. There were some ugly words being spoken down there between these two," he said.
Elliot won the flyweight bout via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-25), but the exchange pre-fight didn't go unnoticed on social media.
Yahoo Sports US searched but was unable to find any court or police records implicating Espinosa, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in any incident of domestic violence.
Judging by Elliott’s request to fight Espinosa and by the conversation between them, Elliott believes something occurred. After the fight, Elliott told reporters he had received a Facebook message from a girl with choke marks on her throat. Via Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal:
"I didn't say that for anybody else to hear because I don't know the whole story," Elliott said. "It was kind of disturbing, the whole thing.
"This is the first fight that was ever personal to me. I wanted to hurt the guy. I let my emotions get the best of me because of the message I received."
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