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Chael Sonnen makes case for MMA forfeit clause following Amanda Nunes’ withdrawal from UFC 213

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

The backlash from this past weekend’s cancellation of the much-anticipated rematch between current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko is still being felt.

Nunes was forced to withdraw from the headlining bout hours before it was set to take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sat., July 8, due to her battle with sinusitis, despite the fact that she was cleared by doctors to compete.

Amanda’s refusal to fight didn’t sit too well with company president Dana White, who vowed not to let “Lioness” headline another UFC card. And earlier this week, former UFC Middleweight title contender and current Bellator MMA athlete, Chael Sonnen, expressed his displeasure on The MMA Hour at how it all went down, saying that the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) needs a forfeit clause in place for cases like this.

“I don’t know man, that has got to be a frustrating spot, 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. It’s a tough spot and 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, they said they’d do it, it’s the main event and they decide not to. I don’t know where I weigh in on that. I would not smooth the whole thing over, though. I would be a little bit pissed off. I have always thought, and 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. 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. It does happen in boxing and in wrestling. If anything happens and one athlete doesn’t step on the mat after the weigh in, the lose by forfeit. There should be some kind of a clause in there. I’m not thrilled about it, to tell you the truth.”

When reminded that Matt Mitrione wasn’t thrown under the bus the way Amanda was after he was forced out of his initial meeting with Fedor Emelaianeko earlier this year due to kidney stones, “The American Gangster” pointed out some importance differences between the two situations.

“That was a little bit different, but to remind you, Mitrione really wanted to fight and it was actually the doctors that told him, ‘Look, you can’t.’ Remember it was a kidney stone issue. That was a bit misreported because people think Mitrione pulled out or that doctor’s pulled him; the final analysis came form (Scott) Coker himself who said, ‘No more, we are moving on and I’m pulling this one.’ So that was a little different scenario as opposed to someone who weighed in and then said, ‘Hey I’m not feeling so hot.’ I don’t want to say that condescendingly in case she really is sick or hurt, but I just want to maintain this point that I should have been a forfeit. This entire sport is about finding out who is tougher at a specific time and place. And if you are an athlete that admittedly says, ‘I’m not even tough enough to try,’ then you can not be called the champion. I see guys pull out all the time, they should lose their ranking. Tough guys, Cain Velasquez, I think the world of Cain Velasquez, but he has pulled out of so many fights that if I am a media member that gets to put rankings, I pull his ass out. If Cain comes forward and says, ‘I’m not even tough enough to leave the locker room,’ then how can people call him No. 3 in the world when he just told you he’s not tough enough to leave the locker room? The whole sport is about finding out who’s tougher at a specific time and place; we should have a new champion.”

Still, Sonnen wanted to make it clear that she was not attacking Nunes one bit on a personal level, and only wanted to make a case for his forfeit clause, as is standard with Olympic matches and NCAA wrestling meets.

As for Team Nunes, they don’t have time for “dumb people’s” assessment on her decision to withdrawal from the headlining fight.

According to Dana White, Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 will likely be re-scheduled to go down at the upcoming UFC 215 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Sept. 9, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Any of you feeling Sonnen’s idea?

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