UFC women’s strawweights Carla Epsarza and Claudia Gadelha went toe-to-toe over the weekend for UFC 225. Gadelha ultimately walked away with a split decision victory over her opponent. Following accusations from her opponent concerning the fight, Gadelha has now come forward with a response.
Appearing on the final edition of The MMA Hour on June 11, Carla Esparza accused Claudia Gadelha of cheating during their fight.
“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. … 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.”
Speaking with MMA Fighting, Claudia Gadelha has since come forward with a response to the accusations.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”