Carla Esparza came up just short at UFC 225, dropping a split decision to strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha. The fight was close, but most media outlets had Gadelha taking the decision. Unsurprisingly, Esparza doesn’t agree, but she also has another major bone to pick - she believes that Gadelha cheated. She spoke about it on The MMA Hour today (via MMA Fighting):
“She cheated in the fight; she greased before the fight. 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.”
“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 and Gadelha had a bit of a rivalry going on for years before they finally met in the Octagon. They were supposed to fight in Invicta a couple of times years ago, but Gadelha was forced out of both bouts and they have periodically exchanged barbs ever since. They were cordial in the cage after the fight, but that has apparently evaporated quickly.
“I felt that I won anyway. I felt that things could’ve even been more dominant on my side had [she not greased],”, says Esparza. Claudia, you’re a cheater, straight up. It’s not cool. It is what it is, but it’s done with.”