Trading Shots: Should Amanda Nunes have fought ill during UFC 213?

Amanda Nunes set off an avalanche of criticism, both from fans and UFC President Dana White, when she pulled out of her UFC 213 categorical eventuality hitch conflicting Valentina Shevchenko on Saturday in Las Vegas. Now late UFC and WEC warrior Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss what Nunes should have done, and either a powers that be are treating her unfairly.


Downes: There wasn’t a Papa Roach unison (that we know of), yet “International Fight Week” supposing some good movement this weekend, Ben. On Friday night, Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson had a intensity “Fight of a Year.” Not to be outdone, your child Robert Whittaker withstood some early difficulty and a crippled leg to spin a halt middleweight champion.

What we didn’t see, however, was Amanda Nunes fortifying her UFC women’s bantamweight pretension conflicting Valentina Shevchenko. We still don’t have all a details, yet it sounds like Nunes became ill and pulled out of a fight. Dana White says that Nunes was medically cleared and her preference not to quarrel was “90 percent mental.”

Since we threw Germaine de Randamie underneath a train a few weeks ago, it’s protected to assume that you, too, will call Nunes a coward?

Fowlkes: You know what we like about you? Your eagerness to support all context divided while creation these comparisons. Wait, did we usually form “like”? Sorry, we meant a conflicting of that.

Here’s what happened with Germaine de Randamie, Danny, given we seem to have forgotten. First she won a UFC women’s featherweight title. Then, a impulse she was asked about fortifying that title, expected conflicting Cristiane Justino, she remembered she indispensable palm surgery. Maybe. Then some weeks after she remembered that Justino has a story of unsuccessful drug tests, and so that’s given she wouldn’t quarrel her.

Nunes? She already fought Shevchenko once – and won. She sealed to quarrel her again, afterwards finished adult in a sanatorium twice in a hours heading adult to a fight, before eventually withdrawing.

White has left out of his approach to support this as a mental and not a earthy emanate for Nunes. That’s not odd for a UFC president. He loves to rabble his possess fighters when they cost him income or even usually go conflicting his wishes, and it doesn’t seem to matter how good or tough or overwhelming they are during their jobs.

Remember when he did a media discussion call to produce Jon Jones after a UFC 151 cancellation? Remember when he went on an “official” UFC podcast to speak pound on Demetrious Johnson?

Now it’s Nunes’ turn. She was “cleared” to quarrel by doctors, White said, yet simply wouldn’t do it. we speculation that’s given she likes throwing her income divided on training camps usually to skip out on a payday of a quarrel itself. Either that, or she was so shocked of a awaiting of a quarrel conflicting someone she already kick that she simply couldn’t go by with it.

Or – bear with me, given we know this speculation is a small crazy – maybe she felt like she was too freaking ill to fight, Danny. Maybe she knew that if she fought ill and lost, her eagerness to do a UFC a plain wouldn’t do most to assistance her chances of removing a rematch. Maybe she felt like she had to demeanour out for herself, given who else is going to do it if she doesn’t?

Are we unequivocally going to tell me that we can’t suppose how a warrior competence strech that conclusion? Or are we usually that gentle holding White’s word as honest gospel, notwithstanding his uneasy story with a truth?

Downes: MMAjunkie is truly propitious to have someone like we on staff. Your ability to simply discern that fighters are using frightened and that ones are a plant of business is astounding. Coupled with your apparent medical knowledge, I’m simply in awe. we speculation we shouldn’t be surprised, though. we mean, we did play Division III football, after all.

I know shade is a unwashed word to you, so I’m going to try to mangle it down as simply as we can. You are scold to be questionable of White’s interpretation of events. He had a lot to remove and zero to benefit by canceling his categorical event. And when we disaster with his quarrel cards, he goes destroyed Earth. That is, unless we get picked adult for a transgression attack warrant. Then he’ll go to bat for we all day long.

But your mistake here is vouchsafing a celebrity of a warrior cloud your judgment. You like Nunes. Therefore, she’s a plant of a allegation campaign. If it had been Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping or anyone else on your strike list, we doubt we would be so forgiving.

Nunes pronounced that “chronic sinusitis” was a reason for her pulling out of a fight. Now before we explain victory, she’s also pronounced that she’s fought by this before. we don’t know about White’s 90/10 separate on a mental vs. earthy aspect of Nunes’s decision, yet even we would have to acknowledge a mental aspect played a role.

Obviously we don’t have to be on your deathbed to be “too ill to fight,” yet even a slight distrurbance heading adult to a quarrel can be magnified 1000 times over in your mind. I’m certain we had a same feelings on…uh…scrimmage week or something. Even if it’s a condition you’ve dealt with thousands of times before, a stakes spin bigger once you’re a headliner.

I don’t consider Nunes was scared. we don’t consider she spent all that time/money on training stay to go to Las Vegas and travel divided with $0. What we do consider is a highlight of being a champion can import on a person. Would she have pulled out of this quarrel if she were a challenger? Probably not. Like de Randamie or Bisping or even Conor McGregor, she has a pretension now and wants to do all in her energy to reason onto it.

All those aforementioned champions have left by widely manifold machinations to reason on to their particular titles, yet a incomparable indicate still stands. Once they have their precious, they’ll do whatever required to keep it theirs. Even it means being a bit some-more discreet than usual.

Fowlkes: You wish to speak nuance? Want to speak about medical clearances? Then let me lift your sequence about a cat name of Donald Cerrone.

That’s right, I’m articulate about a dear “Cowboy.” Now there’s a male who’ll quarrel by anything. Pulled groin? Infection in his blood? Doesn’t matter. If a alloy and a upholder will let him, he’s putting that spokesman in and creation that walk. What a savage.

Know something else about Cerrone? He’s never been a UFC champ. It could be given he fights all a time, underneath whatever circumstances, and so fundamentally he’s going to remove one here and there. And what happened when he complained about a state of warrior pay, Danny? That’s when Mr. White explained that we “have to win them all” if we wish to make that critical money.

But, wait, I’m confused. If we have to win them all, wouldn’t we be correct to refrain from fighting when we aren’t feeling healthy adequate to give yourself a good shot during victory? But if we do that, afterwards you’ll get excoriated on a Internet for not being a “real” fighter, regardless of how many times you’ve already proven a opposite.

This isn’t someone branch down a tip contender in a division. It isn’t someone picking and selecting for an easier or some-more essential fight. This is a champion who pronounced yes, who showed up, and who got sick.

If a response is to scream during her for not being peaceful to take a violence anyway for a consequence of a entertainment, afterwards we need to reevaluate some things, adult to and including how we provide losing fighters who tell us what was bum them. And until we’re prepared to do that, we shouldn’t be astounded when a warrior decides to act in her possess best interests. Maybe instead we should be astounded that it doesn’t occur some-more often.

For finish coverage of UFC 213, check out a UFC Events territory of a site.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a late UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie writer who has also created for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on chatter during @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.


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