Esparza insisted that Gadelha greased before the fight and now regrets not informing a referee.
She cheated in the fight; she greased before the fight, Esparza told Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour. I was considering saying something to the referee in between [rounds]. I was going to say, Shes greasing! Shes greasing, but I didnt really know how to go about it.
Watching the fight has only made Esparza more confident of her accusation.
Its 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. Shes a cheater, but it doesnt really surprise me. In my opinion, shes been a pretty dirty fighter throughout, so it is what it is.
Esparza thinks she got the better of Gadelha over the three rounds, but thinks she would have been more dominant if the Brazilian hadnt cheated, as she alleges.
I felt that I won anyway. I felt that things couldve even been more dominant on my side had [she not greased]. Claudia, youre a cheater, straight up. Its not cool. It is what it is, but its done with.
Fighting a wrestler I can see why someone would do something like that, she continued. Ive been working on a pretty solid armbar and I felt like I had it setup a couple of times in the fight higher on the arm, but every time my arm just slipped down.
Esparza remembered being on the verge of complaining to a referee at one point during the fight. She also didnt inform her corner of the situation until after the bout.
At the end of the second round, I was going to say something to the ref, but I didnt and I kind of regret that. I dont know how I wouldve gone about that. Ive never been in that situation before.
I do [regret not telling the referee]. I dont know if it wouldve made a difference. Maybe they couldve toweled her off, but I really dont know. Ive heard of people doing this over the years. But I never actually experienced it before.