The fallout from Amanda Nunes’ last minute withdrawal from UFC 213’s main event has Bellator fighter Chael Sonnen suggesting a change in the rules.
Late pull-outs are part and parcel of the fight game, with a myriad of high-profile cases coming to the fore in MMA in recent years given the increased size of the UFC’s roster.
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes’ withdrawal just hours before her fight with challenger Valentina Shevchenko however was a rarity in terms of timing. No replacement could be found and given the go-ahead in such short order, and the headliner of UFC 213 was cancelled.
Nunes cited a case of “chronic sinusitis” as the reason she had to leave off the rematch, but Sonnen, among others, feels that such an instance shouldn’t go unchecked.
“The show must go on. I can’t remember a time, maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t, but I can’t remember when someone weighed in, and then pulled out for the match”, Chael told Ariel Helwani of the MMA Hour.
“If she says she can’t fight, you never want to kick anyone when they are down. If she is sick or hurt whatever the case, you just want to wish them well, but that has got to be frustrating when somebody gets checked out by a doctor, it’s the main event and they decide not to. I would not smooth the whole thing over.”
According to Chael, this would entail a clause whereby a withdrawal from competition within a certain proximity from fight time would see a concession of the bout.
“I realize my idea would not work, however I still share the ideology that we should have a forfeit clause and there has to be some time period”, Sonnen declared.
“Particularly from the weigh in to the ring. In any other sport, you lose, you lose by forfeit. This would never happen in a Super Bowl or NBA. There should be some kind of a clause in there. I’m not thrilled about it, to tell you the truth. This entire sport is about finding out about who is tougher at a specific time or place.
If you’re an athlete that is admittedly not tough enough to try, then you cannot be called the champion.”
The full interview can be seen here via MMAFighting on YouTube.