Ex-UFC champ Carla Esparza on 'freaking out' when Metallica walkout song was scrapped
HALIFAX Walkout songs are an important part of a fighter’s identity. That’s why former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza was “freaking out” when UFC informed her the walkout song she’s used ahead of every career fight to date was deemed a no-go.
Since her MMA debut in February 2010, Esparza (11-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has walked to the cage to sound of Metallica’s “Harvester of Sorrow.” She was told with essentially no explanation that the song was unusable for her UFC Fight Night 105 bout with Randa Markos (6-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC), and she admits to being disheartened by the news.
“I am so bummed about that,” Esparza told MMAjunkie. “I think a lot of fighters have things that are kind of their rituals, and this is one of them for me. It’s a very important song to me. I’ve been walking out to it from my first (fight). They asked me, ‘Do you want the same song?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then I get a text a couple days later saying for legal reasons, nothing to do with the UFC, I can’t use it anymore.
“I’m freaking out like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god.’ I let the fans know, and I asked for their help. There’s so many songs and good music out there, but I just needed something that felt right. It’s a very important thing for me. It’s not like I pick something new every fight like, ‘Oh, whatever.’ This is something that’s very important, so I took a good amount of time to figure it out, and I got it.”
UFC Fight Night 105 takes place Sunday at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Esparza vs. Markos airs on the FS1-televised preliminary card prior to the main card on the same channel and following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
Esparza said she explored alternatives to having her defining walkout song scrapped, but ultimately the other options did not meet her desired comfort level.
“I’ve had people suggest (wearing headphones) to me but I’ve never walked out with headphones before,” Esparza said. “I don’t know how it would feel. I asked if I could come out with no song and maybe I could be listening to it (in my head). I think having one song blasting and listening to another song might be kind of weird. I don’t know. I guess it’s time for change, and I’m hoping it’s my new good luck song.”
Regardless of the disappointment with her walkout song situation, Esparza said she’s trying to keep her focus on her matchup with Markos, with who she shares somewhat of a bitter history.
Both fighters were cast members on Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, which was won by Esparza to claim the organization’s inaugural 115-pound championship. She was actually a teammate of Markos on the show, but as the field narrowed down, the tension heated up.
“We were actually on the same team, Team Pettis,” Esparza said. “She was slated to fight Felice Herrig, my BFF, and there was a lot of negativity there. A lot of people need to hate you and be angry with you to fight you. I guess that’s how she is because before that I thought we were all friends. That’s all in the past. Right now I’m not really focusing on the drama factor of it. I’m just going out there to fight and get my hand raised.”Just one fight removed from dropping the strawweight title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185 in March 2015, Esparza is looking to position herself back in the conversation for a chance to regain the gold. She knows that won’t happen without beating Markos, though, and the thinks the showdown with “Quiet Storm” will bring out her best.
“It’s kind of interesting because I’ve never fought another wrestler,” Esparza said. “I’m interested to see how we match up there. I know we both have a good ground game, and I’ve been working on my striking a lot. Maybe she has, I don’t know. She’s more of a boxer, so we’ll see how that goes. On paper I think we’re very similar styles, so I think it’s just who can perform better at what we do.”For more on UFC Fight Night 105, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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