Former mixed martial arts referee turned Bellator color commentator and podcast host, ‘Big’ John McCarthy has placed the blame on Rose Namajunas’ corner for her strawweight title loss to Carla Esparza at UFC 274 last weekend.
Rose Namajunas, who attempted to avenge a December 2014 submission loss to inaugural strawweight champion, Esparza in the co-main event of UFC 274, suffered a split decision loss to the Torrance native in the pair’s rematch, which has been labeled as one of the most forgettable title fights in Octagon history due to lack of activity.
Rose Namajunas became the first two-time strawweight champion in UFC history back in April of last year
Throughout the fight, however, Namajunas’ corner, Trevor Wittman, as well as partner and lead, Pat Barry – advised Namajunas that she was comfortably winning the fight against Esparza, with Barry notably claiming that the amount of boos and jeers Namajunas was receiving from the crowd at the Footprint Center backed up their successful gameplan.
Following the title loss, Namajunas claimed that she believed she had actually won the fight, due to her defensive approach, which limited the offensive ability of Esparza. However, the aforenoted, McCarthy believes Namajunas’ corner is to blame for their student’s championship dethroning.
“Cornermen need to stop telling their fighters they’re winning the round when they don’t know,” John McCarthy said on his podcast, Weighing In. “If it’s a close round, you gotta say, ‘Hey, no idea whose round that is.’ Or, ‘Hey, we’re gonna have to say we lost that because we don’t know where the judges are gonna go.’”
“You can’t sit there and fall in love with what your fighter is doing based upon, ‘Damn, they looked good…’” John McCarthy said. “Rose Namajunas looked fantastic in movement, her footwork, was beautiful. She was in control of the cage, as far as… she was comfortable and Carla (Esparza) doesn’t have that smooth, fluid style that Rose does, so she looks better.
McCarthy went as far as insisting that Namajunas was still the better fighter when compared with Esparza despite her performance, and her pair of losses against the current gold holder.
“She’s (Rose Namajunas) the better fighter,” John McCarthy said. “But her cornermen were not… Pat Barry and Trevor (Wittman), who I love, they were falling in love with, ‘Ok, now you have to show everyone, take your time, just be careful.’ And finally, it was, like, ‘Alright, show them you’re the best martial artist out there.” (Transcribed by Bloody Elbow)
As far as next title challengers for newly minted champion, Esparza, UFC president hinted that the victor of the upcoming UFC 275 rematch between former titleholders, Zhang Weili, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk would likely meet the Californian for gold next.