Last season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) crowned the first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight champion after Nicco Montano ran through the gauntlet and claimed the strap at the TUF 27 Finale last December by defeating Roxanne Modafferi.
Five months later, the title has been sitting idle due to Nicco’s health issues, which include tonsillectomy and adenoid removal surgery caused by a bacterial infection, which according to Nicco has been preventing her from training. Valentina Shevchenko, for one, is losing her patience as she was supposed to be Nicco’s first challenge as champion at UFC on FOX 30 on July 28 from inside Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
During a recent edition of The MMA Hour, Shevchenko expressed her frustrations with the new champion and declared she should really start thinking about vacating the title if she has no plans to defend it.
“Not yet, we are not at that point [Montano vacating the title]. But I think it would be very right to do things like this because if you are not ready to fight, if you don’t want to fight, you have to leave the belt — you cannot hold it,” she said (via MMA Fighting).
“If you are feeling that you have health issues and you cannot fight for a long time you just have to leave it. When you come back you have a right to fight for this belt again. It’s not the right thing to just hold [the belt] and say it’s mine forever. Either you are fighting and defending or you should step out.”
Just no more interim titles, please.
As far as ducking goes, Valentina feels that may very well be the case, as she thinks Montano may be trying to play the waiting game in order to have “Bullet” take another bout.
“Yes, I feel a bit like she is [avoiding me], but I also think it could be her strategy. I don’t know if they have approached her for a date at the end of the summer, if not maybe she will accept it, but nobody can be sure if she will be fighting by then,” said Shevchenko, who is 1-0 at 125 pounds.
“Maybe at the very last second she could say that she still has some kind of injury and she cannot fight. Maybe it will happen, so I will continue to do my job and keep training. I think another part of her plan is her thinking that I will lose my patience and ask for another fight. Then I will fight another fight and she will be expecting that something will happen in this fight. I’m waiting for my title fight. It will happen.”
Something tells me Nicco won’t appreciate those comments.