Luana Pinheiro has released a statement on her disqualification win over Randa Markos at UFC Vegas 25, firing back at her opponent and critics who questioned her behavior in the fight.
In a prepared statement sent to MMA Fighting, Pinheiro, who was declared the winner in the first round after Markos landed an illegal upkick, called her opponent’s claim that the kick “grazed” her “a joke.” She stopped short of calling the kick intentional, but indicated she was winning the fight when it took place.
Several current and former fighters questioned how much Pinheiro was hurt by Markos’ kick and accused her of faking injury. But former middleweight champ Michael Bisping put the responsibility for the ultimate result on the referee, who ruled the shot intentional and triggered the disqualification.
Pinheiro forcefully agreed with that assessment, writing “AND AT NO POINT I SAID I COULDN’T CONTINUE FIGHTING! I was using the time, which is my right, to recover at my best in case the fight restarted. I was using the time, which is my right, to recover at my best in case the fight restarted. The doctor told the referee that I wasn’t capable of continuing. It wasn’t my decision.”
Still, Pinheiro was inundated by online criticism, an experience she said she was prepared for before she stepped into the octagon.
Now, the Brazilian fighter, who’s won seven straight bouts, is readying herself for a return to the cage.
Below is Pinheiro’s full statement:
“First of all, I’m really upset with how the fight ended. I’ve worked really hard and have waited so long for this day and didn’t imagine winning like that. I wanted to knock her out or submit her, but I’m happy because I worked really hard, followed step-by-step with excellence from my camp to weight-cutting to doing in the fight what we were doing in camp.
“My opponent said her foot only grazed my face – LOL what a joke. It was clear that I was winning the fight, and she got desperate and threw that illegal shot. I can’t say if it was intentional or not, but it was something done in a moment of despair because she was in a horrible situation. The only thing she can do now, after being completely dominated and making the poor decision of throwing an illegal blow, is to talk crap and try to diminish her mistake and put the ‘blame’ on me.
“For the haters: I was always well-taught about the truth in this sport, and dealing with derogatory is part of the journey. People have no idea what we go through to get there, how hard we work to give our best and how much I wanted a beautiful victory. But I see the bright side of having to deal with that right in the start of my career in the UFC, because these type of comments are inevitable. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you work in there and give your best, there will always be people with weak minds and hearts trying to talk you down. And that doesn’t affect me in a negative way, only makes me stronger.
“For those criticizing, go get upkicked in the temple and the chin when you’re not expecting and see how that feels. That’s illegal for a reason. The referee could have given her the victory, or ruled it a no-contest. It was his choice. I didn’t know I had won the fight at that moment. AND AT NO POINT I SAID I COULDN’T CONTINUE FIGHTING! I was using the time, which is my right, to recover at my best in case the fight restarted. The doctor told the referee that I wasn’t capable of continuing. It wasn’t my decision.
“My focus now is on my evolution. I’ll continue treating some small injuries, and I’m already planning what I’m going to focus on to evolve my martial art and get back to training as soon as I’m ready. In the meantime, my manager will work with the UFC to set my next step in the organization.
“Also, I would like to thank my team Nova Uniao for the work done in this camp. Thank you to my training partners and coaches: Dede Pederneiras, Matheus Nicolau, Pedro Falcao, Kaua Fernandes, sensei Daniel Pirata and sensei Gigio Diniz. And thank you to my conditioning coach Itallo Villardo, my doctor Dr. Felipe Pereira, my physical therapist Felipe Maia, and my coach Lilian Villaca.”