Jessica Aguilar and Megumi Fujii both lost controversial decisions to Zoila Gurgel in 2010's Bellator women's 115lb tournament. Never the less, Fujii is widely considered the #1 woman in the class, and most would agree that Aguilar in #2. Thus there is no title at stake when the two fight Friday night at Bellator 69 in what is never the less a great match up.
In a wide ranging interview with SI's Loretta Hunt, Aguilar offered remarks far from usual, which can range from the numbing "I'll smash his/her dumb ass" to the eventually also numbing "I respect everyone my opponent especially and only want a great fight for my fans who I love a lot and also my sponsors and God."
Jessica doesn't know much about her father's unsolved death -- the word "mafia" has come up around the topic -- but she knows not to bring it up at home. Her mother was scared into closing her husband's case with authorities and even years later, is still looking over her shoulder.
One day in 2006, she arrived at her boxing gym too late to take her usual classes, so she tried a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class instead.
At her second grappling tournament "there were no females for me to compete against, so I asked to go against the guys," said Aguilar. Instead, an ATT matchmaker approached her with a last-minute pro MMA fight in Absolute Fighting Championships that next weekend.
"I was used to paying these grappling tournament fees, so I asked him how much it would cost me," said Aguilar. "He said, 'No, I'll pay you.'"
"I didn't know what I was doing, but I knew I wasn't going to let it happen to me again," said Aguilar, who lasted nearly the entire fight before Lisa Ward-Ellis submitted her with a rear-naked choke.
Jessica came out to her ATT teammates about her bisexual orientation with little fanfare and for the last year has lived with her girlfriend, who wholeheartedly supports her fight career.
"I don't put it in any titles," said Aguilar, "but I'd say when I've found the right person -- whether it's a man or a woman -- I'd be happy."
Like fighting, Jessica's bisexuality is something her mother doesn't quite grasp.
"She asked me where I learned it or saw it," Jessica said. "I told her you didn't see or learn it; you felt it. She told me it would pass."
She wasn't sure how it would affect her ability to get sponsorships or how the fans might react to it.
However, she's realizing that her chosen occupation comes with some expectation of openness if she wants fans to connect with her journey.
"It's always been something I had to be very conservative about and it's something I've had to get more comfortable talking about," she said. "If somebody doesn't agree with my choices, with all due respect, I just don't feed into it because that's negative energy. I'm sorry -- this is who I am."
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