This past Saturday’s UFC 225 will possibly be remembered as one of the better cards of the year so far. The event saw a plethora of exciting contests which included two women’s bouts but there was one women’s bout in particular that has made headlines, and all for the wrong reasons.
The fight I’m referring to was between former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and former UFC strawweight title contender Claudia Gadelha.
The two top strawweight contenders battled it out in a competitive, entertaining three round war on the UFC 225 prelims.
While the contest was an extremely close call fight, controversy arose, for a couple of reasons. One, many fans believe that Esparza should have walked away from that fight with the victory being that she was getting the better of Gadelha for most of the fight.
The second reason however was one that went unseen and unsaid, that is until a couple of days after the fight.
“Cookie Monster” Carla Esparza joined the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani yesterday to give her thoughts on the fight with Gadelha and how she’s dealt with the loss. In the middle of giving her summary of the bout, Esparza confessed that Claudia Gadelha had greased before the fight.
Reluctant to speak up to the referee about the dilemma at the moment, Esparza now feels a sense of regret for not making the situation known, she went on to further discuss the incident in it’s entirety during the interview.
“She cheated in the fight; she greased before the fight,” Esparza explained to Helwani.
“I was considering saying something to the referee in between [rounds]. I was going to say, ‘She’s greasing! She’s greasing’, but I didn’t really know how to go about it.”
After going back and re-watching the bout with Gadelha, Esparza was reassured of what her opponent had done.
“It’s pretty shady to me. I re-watched the fight and my hands were slipping right off. Even when I was trying to grab armbars during the fight my arms kept slipping down. She’s a cheater, but it doesn’t really surprise me. In my opinion, she’s been a pretty dirty fighter throughout, so it is what it is.”
Esparza believes had Gadelha not pulled the despicable act before their fight, she would’ve completely dominated the Brazilian.
“I felt that I won anyway. I felt that things could’ve even been more dominant on my side had [she not greased]. Claudia, you’re a cheater, straight up. It’s not cool. It is what it is, but it’s done with.”
“Fighting a wrestler I can see why someone would do something like that,” she continued. “I’ve been working on a pretty solid armbar and I felt like I had it setup a couple of times in the fight higher on the arm, but every time my arm just slipped down.”
Esparza contemplated the thought of telling the referee about Gadelha cheating at a certain point during the fight but neglected to.
She also didn’t inform her corner about Gadelhas tactic until after the fight has finally ended.
“At the end of the second round, I was going to say something to the ref, but I didn’t and I kind of regret that. I don’t know how I would’ve gone about that. I’ve never been in that situation before.
“I do [regret not telling the referee]. I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference. Maybe they could’ve toweled her off, but I really don’t know. I’ve heard of people doing this over the years. But I never actually experienced it before.”
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