The city of Liverpool is rightly abuzz about their football club's upcoming Champions League match with Real Madrid. But Liverpool native Molly McCann took the opportunity to school her fellow UFC fighters in the appreciation of their crosstown rivals, Everton, of the British Premier League.
A former soccer player herself, McCann took Fight Night Liverpool headliner Stephen Thompson and main card brawler Manny Bermudez on a tour of Goodison Park with the help of Everton's knowledeable and attentive staff.
"It's less like a stadium and more like a catherdral," explained Everton Press and PR Manager Mo Maghazachi as he stood on the pitch. "You really get a sense of the history that's taken place here."
And what a history it is. Since forming in 1878, Everton have competed in the top division a record 114 times, missing it only four years total, and none since 1952. During those years, Everton is also responsible for a number of "firsts" that soccer fans now take for granted: numbers on the back of jerseys, nets in the goals, and dugouts on the field. They were also the first club to be featured in a televised game in 1936.
"So you guys basically invented football, then?" Thompson joked.
Every major football talent from Pelé to Beckham has played in the stadium, but that's not all that makes the venue special for McCann.
"My UFC debut got announced here at Goodison Park. Everton got the scoop, and let everyone know who I am and what I'm about. The support has been amazing."
It's not everyday, or any day for that matter, that a UFC fighter gets to make their debut in their hometown, particularly a city that UFC is visiting for the first time. This fact is not lost on McCann.
"Listen, it's thing of dreams to make my debut of Liverpool. Who gets to do that? It's written in the stars for that kind of thing to happen."
Wonderboy seemed both impressed and convinced, proudly adorning honorary jersey the club had given him as he soaked in the history lesson. Despite the fact he'll be standing across from another hometown hero, Darren Till, on Sunday, Thompson seemed hopeful that he'd still get some love.
"I know he's from Liverpool, but hopefully after the fight [I'll] leave with some Liverpool fans AND some Everton fans."
.@WonderboyMMA knows a lot of Liverpool fans will be cheering for their hometown hero Darren Till, but he's still hopeful... #UFCLiverpool #EvertonFC pic.twitter.com/7eANa0ijCI
— Steve Latrell @UFC (@TheUFSteve) May 24, 2018
Steve Latrell is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TheUFSteve