Former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza suffered a split decision loss to Claudia Gadelha at UFC 225.
The former champion believes she lost the fight because Gadelha cheated by greasing up for the preliminary card encounter.
“She cheated in the fight; she greased before the fight,” Esparza said on The MMA Hour. “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.”
Gadelha has yet to respond to the cheating claims, while no statement has been made by the UFC at this time as well.
Even though the former champion feels that Gadelha cheated during their three round encounter, one thing Esparza feels is that she still won the fight.
“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,” says Esparza.
An accused Gadelha would here the accusations brought against her by Esparza and she says the former champion is simply making excuses for the loss.
”I think Carla is trying to find excuses for what happened,” Gadelha said to MMA Fighting. “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 Gadelha is found to be cheating through an investigation, it could mean the result of the fight would be overturned to a no contest and other penalties could be handed out as well.