Cortney Casey addressed the controversy surrounding the kick to the head she received from Claudia Gadelha at UFC FIght Night Sao Paulo on Saturday that many say did not connect at all.
The incident came in the third round of the fight when Gadelha was letting Casey up after a ground exchange. Casey appeared to be ready to stand up, but then sat back down to go for one of Gadelha’s legs. It was at this point that Gadelha delivered a kick that at first appeared to connect, leaving Casey curled up on the mat. Replays from different angles made the kick appear to graze over the top of Casey’s head, perhaps hitting only the hair tied up on top of her head, leading many fans online to ridicule Casey and accuse her of faking injury.
The Brazillian Commission bought into the kick to the bun theory and condemned Casey for “forging” her injury.
Casey, in speaking to MMA Fighting, denied any such thing, and insists that the kick did indeed land, and that Gadelha acknowledged as much in the cage only to go back on it publicly afterwards.
“I really didn’t know what was going on when it happened,” Casey said. “I knew I got hit in the head, and I was dazed a little bit. I was just trying to regain my composure because I knew it was the third round, and that’s kind of when we were implementing the game plan, drawing her into a brawl and trying to get her a little bit gassed. And then I got kicked in the head.”
Gadelha seemed to feel the kick connected as well according to Casey. “She apologized right away,” she said. “Like, when we started the round again, she apologized. After the fight, she came up to me, before they announced that she was the winner, she apologized to me.”
Casey went on to add that she doesn’t plan on contesting the decision not to take a point from Gadelha, which wouldn’t have affected the final judges’ decision, but also doesn’t want to continue to face criticism for being on the receiving end of an illegal blow.
“At the end of the day, I got kicked,” he said. “I’m not asking for a point deduction, I was never saying that the fight should be overturned, none of that. So I don’t know why everyone is yelling at me, and blaming me, like I’m going out saying all this stuff. I haven’t said anything, other than I got kicked in the head.”
The Brazilian commission released a second statement somewhat backtracking on their condemnation of Casey. The statement reads:
“Due to the repercussion on the incident between Courtney and Gadelha on UFC Bader vs Minotouro, held in São Paulo/SP on November 19th, 2016, The Brazilian Athletic Commission (CABMMA) would like to clearly state that it does not, in its role as a regulator, judge the character of any competitor, enroll on false public accusations with the intent to jeopardize their history or future in the sport, and most certainly does not analyze any other circumstance which is not directly related to the regulation of the event, the license athletes and other professionals involved in their responsibility.”
The CABMMA still maintains their stance on the circumstances, but they seem to have gone back on their accusations of unsportsmanlike behavior by Casey.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I maintain that the kick connected, even after seeing the replays that brought the kick into question. In my live report of the fight, I wrote: “They tried to sell it as a glancing blow, but it was pure shin to head,” and that’s pretty much what happened according to Casey’s account as well. I’m sure that she just wants to put this behind her and move on to her next fight. There really wasn’t much incentive for Casey to fake being hit as she wasn’t ahead on the scorecards and, if she was looking for a way out of the fight, she could have chosen not to continue, but she did. Either way, Gadelha’s kick wasn’t malicious and it was clear that she was expecting Casey to be up by the time the kick landed. It’s just one of those things that is going to happen in the heat of battle, and we’re just lucky no one was seriously hurt.
WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST
-Aljamain Sterling is out of his Dec.9 UFC Fight Night bout with Raphael Assuncao for undisclosed reasons. (SOURCE)
-Yoel Romero has been suspended 60 days by the New York State Athletic Commission for leaving the cage after his UFC 205 victory over Chris Weidman. (SOURCE)
–Saturday’s UFC on FS1 show from Sao Paulo headlined by Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogeuira averaged 769,000 viewers, peaking for the main event with 823,000 viewers at around midnight Eastern. Bellator average 597,000 viewers peaking for the Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson main event with 744,000 viewers.
-Kelvin Gastelum has chosen to appeal his New York issued suspension for failing to appear for weigh-ins prior to UFC 205 according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
-The CABMMA has overturned Darren Stewart’s win over Francimar Barroso to a no contest after they determined a headbutt lead to the finish that saw Stewart TKO Barroso with punches on the ground. (SOURCE)
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-Andre Harrison vs. Bruce Boyington at WSOF 34 on Dec. 31 in New York City.
-Ralek Gracie vs. Hisaki Kato at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21 from Inglewood, California.
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)