Christine Ferea believes Taylor Starling’s corner let her down.
In the main event of BKFC 28 this past Saturday, Ferea overwhelmed Starling en route to a 47-second TKO victory to retain her flyweight title. Following the first flurry that led to a knockdown, Starling was clearly heard telling her coaches that she “can’t do this,” but ended up continuing the fight before verbally surrendering during the next exchange.
While Ferea celebrates the win, Starling has dealt with a lot of backlash — some of which could’ve been avoided in the champ’s eyes.
“I’m upset with her corner, honestly,” Ferea told MMA Fighting on Heck of a Morning. “I’m very upset. If I’m a coach, and my fighter is saying, ‘I’m done, I can’t,’ the way she was doing that, they should’ve stopped it. They are there to protect her and they didn’t protect her.
“It made it even worse for her because she had to give up twice, when it could’ve just been one time. They don’t know what she was feeling in that fight, or what kind of hits she took, I just think it was very irresponsible of her corner the way they handled that situation and they need to reevaluate how they handle things [in the future].”
Dan Miragliotta was the referee during the bout and stopped the action after Starling surrendered. When asked if Miragliotta shared any of the blame, Ferea explains why he doesn’t.
“He didn’t see her, he just saw her talking to her corner,” Ferea said. “Her back was turned. Dan is very, very competent in his job, and she was turned around. But her corner, they clearly saw what she was saying. They said, ‘Get back in there.’
“And I give her props, she turned around even though she didn’t want to. I do give a lot of props to her, she stepped up when nobody else would step up. She ditched out on another high-profile fight just to prove herself. Sometimes you have to learn those hard lessons.”
On Wednesday, Starling took to social media and poured her heart out in regards to how she has been treated since the fight — explaining how she’s been “chewed up and spit out,” and have had close people in her life turn their backs on her.
Ferea has been in situations in the past where fans have bombarded her with negativity during her fighting career and she feels for her most recent opponent. The 39-year-old believes Starling can get back to the form that led her to a title shot, but also understands that the weight of the situation can lead to things going one of two ways.
“Of course [I feel bad for her],” Ferea explained. “I know because you should see the comments under mine, but I’ve been dealing with this my whole career. I can have someone bash me all day long but I’m so damn [ready for it], because it’s been happening my whole career — not in her level, not in that way — but for being who I am; short hair, ‘You’re a man,’ all this s***, ‘You need to fight a man,’ and all of that.
“And that’s what I told her, it doesn’t matter what these people say. First of all, we’re entertainers, and we’re in there beating each other up, so the fans that are there, some of them are just hateful. They want to see violence. There’s different kinds of fans, some appreciate it, some just want to talk s*** about us. So we have to understand that. She’s learning a hard lesson on a large platform very young in her career.
“Something like this is either going to make or break you, and I don’t think she’s the type where it’s going to break her.”