UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway already dealt with a ton of criticism this week after being awarded a performance-based bonus originally meant for Pat Healy and, based on the most recent story to surface about the submission specialist, the heat on him isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. The latest incident drawing fire from fans and fellow fighters alike involves title-contender Cat Zingano who took out Caraway’s girlfriend, Miesha Tate, at the Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. According to Zingano, as well as other members of her team, Caraway intentionally popped her in the back of the head with his elbow backstage while the competitors were getting ready to clock in on the scale.
“I get Miesha and not being BFFs fight week, I’m not fighting her to make friends. But as far a corners go, good fights are the product of well-coached athletes, with heart and talent,” said Zingano in an interview with Bloody Elbow. “Brian smiled back in my face then elbowed me in the head at weigh-ins. I was pissed. I considered him in that same respect. I am a fighter all the same, but that was dirty and cheap to do to anyone, let alone a girl.”
“They were both in on it, which makes it even more disturbing. If my husband or son ever pulled something like that, I would be their biggest problem. I won’t be bullied nor condone it,” Zingano concluded.
Zingano’s nutritionist witnessed the incident and offered up more detail.
“I think it was a real bullshit move on his part. We’re backstage and all the fighters are there. We’re kinda tight on space because we were basically in the back where some magician does his shows,” explained Josh Ford. “There are like two rows of chairs lined up and then a table where everyone is filling out their medicals. Cat and I are sitting in the front row and a couple guys from Gabriel Gonzaga’s camp are on the other side of us. We’re talking and I’m looking straight at Cat when I see this body coming down the row behind her. I didn’t notice it was Caraway but there’s plenty of room to walk by. As he gets closer to our chairs he flares his elbow out and pops Cat right in the back of the head. The first thing on my mind was, ‘that guy just elbowed her in the head!’ As I’m turning around to see who it was Cat says the same thing. I turn my head to look and it’s Caraway! And then one of the other fighters, might have been Uriah Hall, sitting there says, ‘Hey! I think that guy just elbowed you in the head!’”
No additional conflict arose from the situation, though Zingano’s husband was reportedly restrained as a means of not confronting Caraway backstage. Though clearly controversy exists relating to Caraway’s behavior, from Zingano’s perspective there are no hard feelings. After all, she won the real rumble at hand by knocking Tate senseless in the third round of their tilt and earned a crack at Ronda Rousey’s belt based on the performance.