After Carla Esparza’s shots after the bell hurled on The MMA Hour yesterday, Claudia Gadelha has returned fire in defense and responded to Esparza’s haymaker’s with a measured, calculated, yet very aggressive return-fire of her own.
On her visit to the MMA Hour Monday, Carla Esparza did not mince words when accusing Claudia Gadelha of cheating:
“She cheated in the fight,” Esparza said.” “She greased before the fight. I was considering saying something to the ref in between the fight. I was gonna say like, ‘She’s greasing. She’s greasing.’ But I didn’t really know how to go about it. It’s pretty shady to me. I finally rewatched the fight, and my hands were slipping right off. Even when I was trying to grab armbars in the fight, my arm was slipping right down.
“She’s a cheater, but it doesn’t really surprise me. In my opinion, she’s been a dirty fighter throughout, so it is what it is.”
Tuesday, Claudia Gadelha spoke to MMAFighting.com to properly defend herself, and her returned shots were high in both volume and velocity:
“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.”
After addressing the possible motive for Esparza’s accusation, Gadelha’s defense then moved to implausibility of the accusation’s truthfulness, due to logistical barriers in place by the athletic commission:
“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.”
Finally, Claudia Gadelha agreed to the resolution that Esparza put forth yesterday: settling their differences once and for all in a rematch:
“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.”
Well, there you have it. Whether or not Esparza continues this fight outside of the cage remains to be seen, but if the fighters have anything to say about the matter, this fight will eventually spread right back to where it started and where it belongs: in the Octagon.
Would you be interested in a rematch between Claudia Gadelha and Carla Esparza?