If things had gone according to plan, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes would have collided with dangerous challenger Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC 213 on July 8. Regrettably, Nunes fell ill through the week of fight, and was ultimately forced to withdraw from the fight on the very day it was supposed to occur.
In the wake of her withdrawal, Nunes found herself under fire, as many members of the MMA community suggested she was scared, and UFC President Dana White claimed her withdrawal was probably mostly mental.
“YOU CAN’T MAKE ANYBODY FIGHT,” WHITE TOLD THE MEDIA AFTER UFC 213. “SHE SAID, ‘I DON’T FEEL RIGHT.’ I THINK IT WAS 90 PERCENT MENTAL AND 10 PERCENT PHYSICAL. A LOT OF TIMES WE’VE HAD FIGHTERS WHO DON’T FEEL RIGHT AND OTHER TIMES THEY’RE OUTRIGHT SICK. I DON’T KNOW IF I’VE EVER HAD A SITUATION LIKE TODAY WHERE SHE WAS PHYSICALLY CAPABLE OF FIGHTING.”
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, meanwhile, does not believe the bantamweight champ was scared. Cormier defended Nunes’ withdrawal on a recent episode of MMAJunkie Radio.
“THIS IS A WOMAN WHO HAS ALREADY FOUGHT AND BEAT VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO,” CORMIER EXPLAINED. “THIS IS A WOMAN WHO BEAT RONDA ROUSEY. A WOMAN WHO BEAT MIESHA TATE. TWO WOMEN WHO ARE NO LONGER FIGHTING BECAUSE OF THE BEATINGS THAT THEY TOOK AT THE HANDS OF AMANDA NUNES, ESSENTIALLY.”
Cormier then chimed in on White’s comments, explaining that emotion may have got the better of the UFC boss.
“DANA IS AN EMOTIONAL GUY A LOT OF TIMES,” HE SAID. “HE’LL JUST SHOOT YOU STRAIGHT. IN THE BEST OF TIMES, HE SHOOTS YOU STRAIGHT. IN THE WORST OF TIMES, HE SHOOTS YOU STRAIGHT. AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT YOU GOT.”
Do you think Amanda Nunes was scared to fight Valentina Shevchenko for a second time, or was her excuse legitimate?
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 7/16/2017.