Before the chaos: Rodriguez and Stephens touch gloves © Instagram / UFC
The crowd in Mexico City let their frustration get the better of them as they hurled bottles and other objects at the octagon following the anticlimactic end to the night's main event between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens.
The bout between two of the most exciting featherweights in the UFC was expected to deliver a spectacular finale to the night's action in Mexico, but an unintentional eye-poke by Rodriguez on Stephens forced the action to be paused after just 15 seconds of the opening round as the American looked to recover from the unfortunate blow.
However, after using up the full five-minute injury-time allowance, Stephens' eye appeared to be swollen and completely shut, forcing referee Herb Dean to call off the contest and rule the bout a no-contest.
The decision – and the premature end to what was likely to be a spectacular fight – did not go down well with the Mexico City crowd, who pelted the cage, and the departing Stephens, with bottles, drinks and other objects as they made clear their displeasure at the events that unfolded.
Fans in Mexico City pelt Jeremy Stephens with beer and popcorn after fight is called. @espnmma@marc_raimondipic.twitter.com/cxv2MlhljC— Eric Gomez (@EricGomez86) September 22, 2019
An angry Rodriguez needed to be calmed down, and eventually addressed the crowd during his post-fight interview, saying: “I apologize a great deal.
“We both trained very hard for this fight. Everyone spent a lot of money to come down and see us compete and support us. I feel very bad about this. Let’s do this again.”
"Everybody in this arena was angry at that," said UFC analyst and former world champion Michael Bisping.
"But it wasn't anybody's fault. It's just one of those things with mixed martial arts. We have the fingerless gloves so that we can grapple. Unfortunately – we see it many times in the exchanges - there's sometimes an accidental eye-poke."