About a week ago, UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade was carjacked at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. At around 2 a.m., while driving, she and her wife, Fernanda, spotted a motorcycle getting close.
She spoke exclusively to ESPN about the panic she went through: "The lights went red, and I slowed down. I saw a motorcycle close, and when I realized he was already by my side, I wasn't quite aware of what was going on," Andrade said. "I thought he was going to ask me something. When I saw the gun, I was like, 'Oh crap.'"
Andrade thought that they were only going to take her belongings, but one of the criminals asked her to step out of the vehicle while the other one was grabbing Fernanda's ring.
"I wasn't understanding the whole deal," she said. "I got out of the car, but I didn't see him pointing the gun at me at any time."
The criminals tried to get away with the car, but the hand brake was on.
"My car's hand brake is a button that was pressed. He didn't know that and was having trouble to make the car go," Andrade said. "I was like, 'Oh great. Now he's going to get out of the car and shoot us. We're screwed.' Until Fernanda told them about the hand brake. They managed to do it and went away."
Andrade and her wife entered a local drugstore. There were a couple of seniors there and a lady who worked at a restaurant. Andrade told them what had just happened and called the police. "I couldn't even remember license plate," she recalls.
With Fernanda in total panic, they called the police and described the car. The lady from the restaurant gave them $40 in case they needed anything. "I didn't know if I was going to cry about the car or because of her. ... Nobody does that. I need to go back there and give her a gift," Andrade said.
After the women went to the police station to testify, the police called a cab and they went home.
"During the crime, I kept my cool," Andrade said. "I'd let them take everything. I don't know how I got that calm because Fernanda was losing it. I hugged her and told her 'Everything's gonna be fine. We're going home.'"
Andrade said she was lucky the criminals did not recognize her. "I had a white cloth on my head, and I kept my head down ... " she said. "If the guy tries to rob you unarmed, then you can use self-defense. But when he has a gun, don't put your life at risk."
The Rio police later found the car and the women's IDs. Andrade feels blessed that she wasn't with the belt that day.
"People think I'm rich," she said. "Well, I'm not. I'm poor just like everybody else. If someone kidnaps me, they're getting nothing but a candy, a gum."