Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight Carla Esparza appeared on Monday’s “The MMA Hour,” accusing Claudia Gadelha of cheating in their fight on Saturday night at UFC 225. Esparza claims Gadelha “greased up” before their bout, making her difficult to get a hold of.
The accused Gadelha talked to MMAFighting.com to defend these accusations made by Esparza, claiming that “The Cookie Monster” is just using excuses for how the fight played out.
“I think Carla is trying to find excuses for what happened. I badly injured my knee, everyone at the UFC (Performance) Institute knows that because I was treated by the institute’s physiotherapist. (The physiotherapist) was the only reason I didn’t pull out of the fight. She said ‘I’ll take care of you.’ I kept visiting the physiotherapist during fight week to be able to fight. I felt the knee in the first round, could barely stand, and still beat Carla in her game, wrestling, so I think she’s just mad she couldn’t outwrestle me. She was supposed to be a high-level wrestler and that’s how she lost to me.”
Gadelha said that these kinds of practices are a thing of the past and would be picked up by the athletic commission before she even entered the Octagon:
“There’s an athletic commission with officials following you the moment you enter the arena up until the point you enter the Octagon, including inside the Octagon, checking if there’s something on your body. Come on, we’re in 2018, this greasing story is from vale tudo days; don’t know how many years ago. At this level, today, I don’t think it happens anymore.
“And by the way, my strategy was to grapple her. I’m a grappler. Why would I put something on my body to not be able to grapple? I was talking to my coach now, we have a list of things written on a paper, notes of things we planned doing in the fight, and grappling was the biggest part of my strategy. Why would I put something on my body? That makes no sense.”
The Brazilian accepted Esparza’s request for a rematch if that meant putting the issue to bed although warned her opponent she’d be in for a tougher fight.
“If Carla wants a rematch, I don’t see any problem with that. I’m sure I’ll dominate her even more because I dominated most of the fight with only one leg.
“I think Carla is mad at me because this fight was supposed to happen for years, so she brought her best version. Her best version and me with one leg, I still won, so let her talk whatever she wants. If a rematch has to happen, I’m here.”