In an interview with Sherdog published Monday, Ismail blamed the media for the narrative that the move was dirty and said that UFC brass understand it was not done on purpose.
“It was cowardice from the press and everyone who attacked her,” Ismail said. “She didn’t put her finger in the opponent’s eye on purpose. She just tried to push her away in the heat of the fight.”
The controversial sequence took place in the final moments of the two fighters’ Dec. 11 bout in Las Vegas. As Robertson worked for a rear-naked choke, Cachoeira reached her hands back toward the face of her opponent.
Twice Cachoeira appeared to stick her fingers in Robertson’s right eye. Referee Chris Tognoni did not warn the Brazilian fighter, though he appeared to swipe at the arm, but Robertson was able to submit Cachoeira withe one second left in the round.
Giga Chikadze swells as betting favorite over Calvin Kattar in UFC’s first main event of 2022
Paulo Costa’s manager says former UFC title challenger will return to middleweight
After the fight, Robertson explained that she has no animosity toward Cachoeira despite the foul. Meanwhile, Cachoeira apologized for the sequence on an Instagram story. The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) did not respond to MMA Junkie’s request for comment.
In case there is any question whether or not Cachoeira will remain on the UFC roster as a result of the foul, Ismail said the promotion is already discussing her next bout.
“People who work in the UFC come from the fighting business, they know what I mean,” Ismail said. “We are already talking about her next fight and Priscila will return to win column.”
The best photos from the UFC, MMA in 2021
view 167 images
The best UFC broadcast reaction photos of 2021
view 31 images