Viral video star Summer Tapasa goes from thwarting thief to UFC 246 – ESPN,

Viral video star Summer Tapasa goes from thwarting thief to UFC 246 – ESPN,

4: PM ET

  • Marc RaimondiESPN Staff Writer

  • ********** (

LAS VEGAS – Conor McGregorwas on one side. Standing across from him wasDonald Cerrone. It was Friday afternoon at Park MGM, the intense final stare-down for the blockbuster UFC 01575879 main event.

In between the two men and slightly behind them is a spot usually reserved for UFC president Dana White to make sure nothing gets physical before they enter the Octagon . This time, Summer Tapasa-Sataraka was in White’s place.

Tapasa has gained worldwide attention as the star of a viral video that shows her physically blocking a would-be thief from taking off with a speaker from Best Buy, her place of employment. White saw the video, found out that Tapasa is no longer with Best Buy and had her flown out to Las Vegas for UFC 823 fight week.

Suddenly, the – – year-old from Hawaii was front and center for the faceoff between the most popular fighter in UFC history and the winningest fighter in UFC history.

“It was amazing,” Tapasa told ESPN. “I was like, I cannot believe I’m here in this moment. In this particular spot – I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable.”

On Friday, White officially offered Tapasa a job with the UFC. UFC vice president of communications Lenee Breckenridge said White initially thought Tapasa could work in a security capacity, but after being moved by talking with her, he felt that she could be valuable in an even greater role. No details on a potential position have been hammered out, Breckenridge said, but White plans to discuss it more with Tapasa on Saturday at UFC at T-Mobile Arena.

Tapasa has several other job opportunities following the viral video, she said. But she is a UFC fan and willing to leave Hawaii and move to Las Vegas if the UFC wants her. Tapasa said her “jaw dropped” when she saw White post on Instagram about her, and she was floored when Breckenridge reached out on Facebook with the offer to come to Las Vegas for UFC (**********************************.

“I’m not gonna let this opportunity slide,” Tapasa. said. “This is once in a lifetime.”

The incident that led to the viral video happened Dec. (**************************************. Tapasa was working in her role in asset protection at Best Buy – essentially a security job – when she saw a man moving toward an open exit carrying a speaker he did not pay for. Tapasa ran over, blocked the door, pushed the man back and then plowed over him like a football offensive tackle when he attempted to escape.

“As soon as I seen him running, the first instinct was just to stop him, “she said. “… I wasn’t about to let that happen. Not on my watch.”

Tapasa said she did do it for Best Buy, for herself or to go viral on social media. She said she has seen shoplifting far too often and wanted to teach a lesson to the would-be robber – and anyone else who thinks it’s ok to steal. The man left the store without the speaker.

“If I don’t stop him now, he’s gonna keep coming, he’s gonna keep coming,” Tapasa said. “He’s gonna get more stuff. It’s not coming out of my pockets. Yes, the items are insured. But it’s the mindset that these people have that they think this is OK. I cannot believe in society now it’s like that.”

It is against Best Buy policy to get physical with a customer in any way. Tapasa was already going to be leaving her job, but she said she would have been fired for stopping the man.

“Our biggest concern is always keeping our employees and customers safe,” Best Buy said in a statement toHawaii News Now, although it did not detail shoplifting protocols for employees. “The reality is simple: Physically engaging with criminals can be dangerous. None of the products we sell is worth putting the safety of our employees at risk.”

Last week, after the video Viral, White posted it to Instagram, writing of Tapasa, “I WANT HER TO WORK FOR ME!”

Tapasa, who calls Hawaii’sMax Holloway

her favorite fighter, said she’d be open to any role the UFC sees as suitable for her. Except one, that is.

“I’m definitely not getting in that cage,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve seen some fans say, ‘Man, she’d be great in the cage.’ No, no, no. I’m perfectly OK. I’m cool with just being a bodyguard or security. “

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