Last Saturday night, Esparza joined the two-time champions’ club with a split decision victory over the same woman whom she defeated to hold the inaugural gold in 2014, Namajunas.
While her feat, which saw her break the record for the longest period between title wins, was impressive, the way in which she dethroned “Thug Rose” certainly left a lot to be desired, with many branding the UFC 274 co-main event as the worst championship contest in UFC history.
Given the way that the fight unfolded and the remarkable lack of action, it’s unsurprising that the pair of top strawweights received criticism from the broadcast team throughout the 25-minute fight.
However, while Daniel Cormier admitted that he expected the pair to be “pissed off” at how the fight was called, the reason for Esparza’s disdain will likely come as a surprise to the former champ-champ.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour, the new 115-pound queen suggested that Cormier, Jon Anik, and Joe Rogan’s work at the desk was directed in favor of Namajunas, especially in the early rounds.
“To be honest, I thought that the commentary, especially early on in the fight, was — it was a combination of a little bit of bias on the side for Rose, but I also felt like they were being kinda real on a lot of notes, just about the fight in general, kinda talking crap on it,” said Esparza. “It sucks to hear, but I kinda knew that was what people were thinking during the fight.
“But I definitely feel like commentators can tend to be one-sided sometimes, and I felt like that was the case, especially earlier in the fight,” concluded Esparza.
While calls of bias are certainly nothing new for the UFC commentary team, with even UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski accusing them of such last year, it’s perhaps surprising that Esparza feels it was evident during a fight where not much good was said about either competitor.
Do you agree with Carla Esparza? Were the UFC 274 commentators showing bias towards Rose Namajunas?