Another hammer-blow has struck UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes after pulling out of UFC 213 at the last minute.
The Brazilian was due to defend her title against Valentina Shevchenko in the main event. Less than twelve hours before fight time however, a hospitalised Nunes withdrew due to illness, leaving her opponent and the UFC not enough time to find a replacement (despite Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s best efforts).
In the immediate aftermath, a bewildered Dana White claimed that the doctors who examined Nunes found nothing wrong and cleared her to fight. Her unwillingness to fight rubbed White the wrong way, and he explained the timeline further in the UFC 213 post-fight press conference, citing her reasons as being more mental than physical.
“This morning, I wake up and I hear that she’s not feeling well again, and she’s probably not going to fight”, the UFC president told the assorted media.
“So, I asked the doctors what’s wrong with her. She was medically cleared. She was physically OK, they found nothing wrong with her, but she didn’t feel right. It’s not like she was like ‘I’m absolutely refusing to fight. I think that it was 90 percent mental and maybe 10 percent physical.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a situation like today.”
In light of the day-of retreat, White has seen fit to banish Nunes from the main event scene.
“I won’t do that again [put her as the main event], I won’t main event that title again.”
If White sticks to his guns, this move would affect Nunes’ earning power, particularly where pay-per-views are concerned, having already headlined two against Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. There was no question of stripping her of the title, however.
“No, we didn’t consider that. We didn’t pay her. There’s no pattern of her doing this before. When there is a pattern, I look at stripping a fighter.”