It's been a rough couple of days for Bryan Caraway. In addition to being called a derogatory term by UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, Caraway is now alleged to have elbowed top female contender Cat Zingano in the back of the head just prior to her fight with Miesha Tate.
While sitting backstage waiting for weigh-ins to begin for her fight at 'The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale,' Zingano's camp claims Caraway intentionally struck her head while walking past. The knock was deemed noticeable enough to draw the attention and comments from onlookers nearby. Noticeably affected by the contact, Zingano then began pacing backstage while Caraway and Take looked on, seemingly amused.
Cat spoke with Bloody Elbow Friday regarding the incident:
"I genuinely like everyone until I have a reason to dislike them. I saw [Caraway] all week, I smiled and was respectful. I get Miesha and not being bff's fight week, I'm not fighting her to make friends. But as far a corners go, good fights are the product of well coached athletes, with heart & talent.
Brian smiled back in my face then elbowed me in the head at weigh-ins. I was pissed. I considered him in that same respect. I am a fighter all the same, but that was dirty and cheap to do to anyone, let alone a girl.
They were both in on it, which makes it even more disturbing. If my husband or son ever pulled something like that, I would be their biggest problem. I won't be bullied nor condone it."
Bloody Elbow spoke with Josh Ford, Zingano's nutritionist and +1 backstage, to get his take on the incident:
"I think it was a real bullshit move on his part. We're backstage and all the fighters are there. We're kinda tight on space because we were basically in the back where some magician does his shows.
Theres like two rows of chairs lined up and then a table where everyone is filling out their medicals. Cat and I are sitting in the front row and a couple guys from Gabriel Gonzaga's camp are on the other side of us. We're talking and I'm looking straight at Cat when I see this body coming down the row behind her. I didn't notice it was Caraway but there's plenty of room to walk by. As he gets closer to our chairs he flares his elbow out and pops Cat right in the back of the head. The first thing on my mind was, 'that guy just elbowed her in the head!' As I'm turning around to see who it was Cat says the same thing. I turn my head to look and it's Caraway! And then one of the other fighters, might have been Uriah Hall, sitting there says, 'hey! I think that guy just elbowed you in the head!'
So it was kind of a big deal. Cat, being who she is, gets up and starts pacing back and forth. At first, my protective coaching instincts kick in and I wanna go over and say something to him but we're backstage, it's the UFC. I wasn't gonna go try to make a big scene. I just thought it was crazy he would take a shot at her.
I don't know what the deal was. [Caraway and Tate] were both being real weird in the back. They're basically inseparable."
Following the weigh-ins, Cat immediately texted her husband and training parter, Mauricio Zingano, about what had happened. Team wrestling coach Leister Bowling was then forced to restrain Mauricio from confronting Caraway and Tate backstage.
"I wasn't there when Leister needed to hold Mauricio back but that sounds pretty par for the course," said Ford. "It definitely had me a little upset. Cat was texting [Mauricio] while we were back there so he was rearing to go. I didn't really see his reaction until later. He was pretty amped about it."
"Josh was the only one who saw it happen," said Bowling. "Mauricio is still pretty fired up about it. Cat was pretty heated from her texts so I walked back to see what was going on. You could definitely tell there was some tension. That just added fuel to the fire for Cat.
When I walked back there you could see that [Tate and Caraway] were watching Kat like, 'Oh, look how mad she is.' I took their reaction as kinda like, 'look how nervous she is' or 'look how hard she's trying to act.' But Cat was genuinely pissed off.
I didn't let Mauricio go back there. That's his wife, you know. I told him I'd go back and check it out. I didn't even give him the option. He was pissed. He took it as if some guy had just elbowed his wife in the head, like any man would. Whether it was an accident or not, I don't know. I wasn't there. A few people said he walked out of his way to bump her.
They were respectful after the fight. Leading up there's a lot of emotions. It was the second Women's fight in UFC history and everyone took it personally. I mean, these two guys have their wife or girlfriend fighting each other. They were both pretty worked up about it, but I shook [Caraway's] hand afterwards and there were no hard feelings on our end. We won."
Bloody Elbow didn't receive a response from Caraway or Tate when asked for comment.