According to a March 11 report from MMA Jam, Invicta FC bantamweight champ Lauren Murphy (8-0) is still being asked questions about her title fight against Miriam "The Queen of Mean" Nakamoto (2-1), even though three months have passed since the bout.
The reason, of course, is that the ending of the fight had a bit of controversy to it, and fans of WMMA continue to seek answers.
Nakamoto vs Murphy
Nakamoto, 37, appeared to be getting the better of the standup for most of the opening minutes of action of their Invicta FC 7 tilt, before suffering a brutal ACL injury towards the end of the third frame.
"The Queen of Mean" was likely up on the scorecards heading into the fourth round, but she collapsed under her own weight 23 seconds into the stanza.
Nakamoto came out for the fourth round and never actually verbally submitted or tapped out, but the ref waved off the bout when he saw her go down.
Since the ref called off the bout in the fourth round, Murphy walked away as Invicta FC's bantamweight champion and Nakamoto went home with her first pro MMA loss on her record.
In the days following the fight, all parties appeared to be moving forward in a positive direction with class and grace.
Murphy was graceful as a champion and Nakamoto's camp praised the new titleholder for having a great attitude and for being a nice person in general.
However, months later, the relationship between Murphy and Nakamoto's camp took a turn for the worse when an interview was posted on Invicta FC's website that featured a bit of criticism the Alaskan wrestler had for "The Queen of Mean."
Murphy hinted that Nakamoto quit during their fight, and that comment didn't sit well with the Muay Thai champ's camp. Here's what Murphy had to say on Invicta FC's website:
There is no doubt Miriam was hurt, and I think that’s too bad. You never want to see an athlete get seriously hurt like that. Some people have said I don’t deserve that belt and that she should have won. I think that’s just silly, for a lot of reasons. Miriam asked for that fight to be stopped, not me. She fell and did not pull guard or try to fight off her back. She did not look for sweeps or armbars or anything.
We were not even in striking distance when she fell, yet she rolled and turned her back. There were a lot of pics on social media of her later, training the day after surgery and such, doing Jiu Jitsu and whatever else. I saw that many people thought that was very amazing, and I just had to wonder, why wasn’t any Jiu Jitsu done during the fight, when it counted? When the world championship was on the line, where was the toughness and heart that would allow her to return to training one day after surgery? Many fighters have fought with torn up ACL’s, for instance, Conor McGregor went on to put on the fight of his life with one, so it is possible. “The mind rules the body”, as they say. I’m not saying she wasn’t hurt. I am saying, if she wanted to win, she should have kept fighting. It’s not my fault she didn’t continue. If the fans have an issue with it, I believe they should take it up with her. I was willing to fight Miriam on one leg. I would have crawled out to the 4th and 5th rounds if I had to, that’s how badly I wanted to win. Some fighters would rather quit than take an ass beating. Me, I’d rather take an ass beating than ever quit. That’s why I am the champion.
In response, Kirian Fitzgibbons, Nakamoto's coach at CSA Gym, did an interview with MMA Junkie radio to provide his take on Murphy's comments.
The ref stepped in because her leg gave out. To say that Miriam quit is the most asinine thing in the world. There's video proof that it didn't happen. There's video proof that she didn't quit.
Fitzgibbons went on to say that Nakamoto would have won the fight if she didn't suffer the ACL injury.
You got beat up by Miriam Nakamoto for two and a half rounds. The tide definitely changed when Miriam blew her knee out on a takedown. That is when that third round changed. Until that moment, you were losing that round. And here's a reality check for Lauren Murphy. If Miriam Nakamoto's knee did not get blown out, Lauren Murphy will continue to take the beating she took for two and a half rounds and she's going to lose that fight and be a footnote in Miriam's story. That's the reality.
Fitzgibbons also said that Murphy's win over Nakamoto has an asterisk next to it.
The Invicta fight was just another fight to Miriam. It's just another title fight. To Lauren, it's the biggest thing in her entire life that's ever happened. So she's gotta defend it. Miriam's been there nine other times. Miriam's fought in front of 300,000 people. She's fought all over the world. She's fought for the king of Thailand. Winning the Invicta belt would have been wonderful. It would have been another accomplishment, but for Lauren it is without a doubt the biggest accomplishment of her sorry life. And sadly there's a great big giant asterisk next to it. Good for you Lauren Murphy, bravo, brav-f*cking-o.
Analysis: Murphy vs Nakamoto was like a great movie that got scrambled up in the middle without customers getting to see a proper ending.
No one wanted to see the fight end the way it did, so hopefully someday Nakamoto and Murphy will have a chance to settle the score.
Murphy says she's open to a rematch, and Nakamoto would undoubtedly like to avenge what went down as a loss on her record.
Who is right in the current feud between Murphy and CSA Gym? Does Murphy's win deserve to have an asterisk next to it, or did she win legitimately? Should there be a rematch between Murphy and Nakamoto? Let us know in the comments or tweet the author, @EricHolden.