Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes withdrew from the UFC 213 pay-per-view (PPV) event last Saturday night (July 8, 2017) in Las Vegas, Nevada (details), leaving promotion president Dana White scrambling for a new main event.
Fortunately, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero stepped into the open slot and delivered a five-round war (watch it), one that gave “The Reaper” a unanimous decision victory and the interim middleweight strap.
Nunes blamed chronic sinusitis for her withdrawal (read her statement here), though it should be noted that “Lioness” was still cleared by the pre-fight physician. That led to some harsh words from White (read them here).
Nunes’ coach Conan Silveira talks to MMA Fighting:
"Critics and dumb people get together and form an opinion that doesn’t exist. Even fighters saying she was scared. Amanda is not scared of anyone. She retired Miesha Tate, she retired Ronda Rousey. Not to mention that she already beat Valentina by unanimous decision. How did she become scared now? Know the facts before you have your opinion. If you have a mouth you can say whatever you want. Every person has their own opinion. What [White] said is what a promoter says. It was enough for him to hear the doctor clearing her, but at the end of the day, Amanda is the one who steps in there to fight. Opinions from everyone else are nothing but opinions. You have to respect her decision. She’s the champion. What everyone else says means nothing.”
Nunes is tentatively scheduled to return at UFC 215.
Lost in all this madness in women’s bantamweight No. 1 contender Valentina Shevchenko, who lost her opportunity to compete for the strap (and avenge her previous loss to Nunes).
“Bullet” received her “show” purse for UFC 213.
The only thing working in favor of the division is the fact that no other women can lay claim to an immediate title shot. Julianna Pena and Ronda Rousey are both coming off losses and Holly Holm is 1-3 over her last four.
See you in September?