All posts by Simon Samano

Controversial Canelo-GGG judge Adalaide Byrd's status in question for UFC 216 in Las Vegas

If you’re a combat sports judge, it’s never a good thing when your name is known. Indeed, that is the case with Adalaide Byrd.

Byrd came under fire this past weekend in the wake of her score for the boxing super fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The thrilling bout ended in a draw, which Byrd scored 118-110 (10 rounds to two) for Alvarez.

The result, and especially Byrd’s scorecard, incurred the wrath of the combat sports world on social media. It also leaves in question her immediate future of potentially judging next month’s UFC 216, also taking place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

A report from FOX 5 in Las Vegas indicated the Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t select Byrd to work UFC 216, though the decision was made prior to Canelo-GGG and had nothing to do with her scorecard on Saturday.

In a later story posted to MMAFighting.com, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett said a decision on Byrd’s UFC 216 status hasn’t been made.

“I will speak with the chairman (Anthony Marnell III) and Adalaide, and we will decide in a week or so,” Bennett said.

That assessment comes on the heels of Bennett expressing his disapproval of Byrd’s Canelo-GGG score, which baffled the masses. He hinted that she could take a break from judging.

“I’m not going to put her right back in,” Bennett said, via the Los Angeles Times. “She’ll still be in the business … but she needs to catch her breath.”

“Like in any profession, you have a bad night,” Bennett added. “Unfortunately, she didn’t do well. I can tell you she conducts training for us, takes judges under her wing … but her score was too wide.”

UFC 216 features a pair of championship fights, with Tony Ferguson  (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) squaring off for the interim lightweight title. Also, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson  (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) will go for a record-breaking 11th consecutive title defense when he takes on Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC). The event airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The three judges for Ferguson vs. Lee were selected Sept. 11, and Byrd was not among them.

For more on UFC 216, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 116

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Luke Rockhold def. David Branch via submission (strikes) – Round 2, 4:05

Luke Rockhold: “The Rain” by DMX

David Branch: “The 3 Lyrical Ps” by Sean Price

Mike Perry def. Alex Reyes via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 1:19

Mike Perry: “Welcome Back” by Young Jeezy

Alex Reyes: “Alpha Omega” by Machine Gun Kelly

Anthony Smith def. Hector Lombard via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:33

Anthony Smith: “I’m Gonna Make It” by Sanders Bohlke

Hector Lombard: “Victory” by The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy

Gregor Gillespie def. Jason Gonzalez via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:11

Gregor Gillespie: “Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash

Jason Gonzalez: “Hail Mary” by Tupac

Kamaru Usman def. Sergio Moraes via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:48

Kamaru Usman: “Wo!!” by Olamide

Sergio Moraes: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Justin Ledet def. Zu Anyanwu via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Justin Ledet: “The Moon and The Sky” by Sade

Zu Anyanwu: “Valley of Death” by Rick Ross

Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Tony Martin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier: “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy

Tony Martin: “Last Breath” by Future

Daniel Spitz def. Anthony Hamilton via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:24

Daniel Spitz: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

Anthony Hamilton: “Only Fear of Death” by Tupac

Uriah Hall def. Krzysztof Jotko via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 2:25

Uriah Hall: “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J

Krzysztof Jotko: “Streets of Siam” by Stan Bush

Gilbert Burns def. Jason Saggo via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 4:55

Gilbert Burns: “Medley” by Buchecha

Jason Saggo: “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 116 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total nears $14.5 million

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Filed under: News, UFC

PITTSBURGH – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $95,000.

UFC Fight Night 116 took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way were middleweights Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Uriah Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC), who each received a third-tier payout total of $10,000. Rockhold defeated David Branch in the main event, while Hall beat Krzysztof Jotko on the prelims.

The full UFC Fight Night 116 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Luke Rockhold: $10,000
def. David Branch: $5,000

Mike Perry: $5,000
def. Alex Reyes: $2,500

Anthony Smith: $5,000
def. Hector Lombard: $5,000

Gregor Gillespie: $2,500
def. Jason Gonzalez: $2,500

Kamaru Usman: $5,000
def. Sergio Moraes: $5,000

Justin Ledet: $2,500
def. Zu Anyanwu: $2,500

Olivier Aubin-Mercier: $5,000
def. Tony Martin: $5,000

Daniel Spitz: $2,500
def. Anthony Hamilton: $5,000

Uriah Hall: $10,000
def. Krzysztof Jotko: $5,000

Gilbert Burns: $5,000
def. Jason Saggo: $5,000

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $4,145,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,468,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Mike Winkeljohn defends Jon Jones, doubts he'd fight again after 4-year ban

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What will happen to Jon Jones if he receives the maximum penalty from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency? Nobody knows for sure.

It can’t be a good sign, though, that Jones’ long-time coach, Mike Winkeljohn, isn’t confident he can rebound from such a devastating blow.

“I don’t know,” Winkeljohn told Submission Radio on Thursday. “If it’s a four-year (suspension), I think it could be just that kind of devastation (that stops Jon from coming back) and, which like I said, it’s not fair, you know?”

Jones, who has denied knowingly cheating, came up dirty at UFC 214 after a post-weigh-ins drug test revealed metabolites of the steroid turinabol in his system. As a result, the California State Athletic Commission overturned his July 29 knockout win over Daniel Cormier, who the UFC reinstated as light heavyweight champion.

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) is likely headed to arbitration with USADA in an attempt to clear his name of a second doping violation and faces up to a four-year suspension. Winkeljohn maintains that Jones did not knowingly cheat.

“He messed up in that maybe he took something that someone said was fine, but he’s not doing it thinking, ‘I’m taking steroids’ or something, you know,” Winkeljohn said. “And that’s the part that’s terrible. He’d be devastated at four years. Who knows, you know? Just, that’s just a long time to just spiral downhill, where bad things can happen.

“So that one scares me. If it’s a year, Jon Jones will come back and dominate the world again, I do believe.”

Jones last year failed a test at UFC 200, which canceled his title-unifying main event with Cormier. Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. He used that defense during arbitration with USADA, which stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension for negligence.

In the lead-up to UFC 214, Jones passed out-of-competition urine tests on July 6 and July 7 and also passed a blood test conducted on fight night. USADA, however, cautioned it was too early to draw conclusions since turinabol is detected only in urine. Jones’ failed test took place July 28 after weigh-ins.

Winkeljohn believes negligence is at play again, adding that it’s unfair Jones is already guilty in the court of public opinion.

“Jon Jones had been tested multiple times going through the fight camp,” Winkeljohn said. “He would not do something like that. The problem is the public perception. They think he’s got these needles and shoving steroids in his arms when, don’t get me wrong, I understand Jon has messed up in the past. He’s got caught drinking and driving. He’s done some bad things. He’s done things that are idiotic. But he’s grown up.

“As far as taking steroids, what he’s been busted for is, you know, taking a Viagra Cialis from Mexico that had something in it. That’s not steroids, but it came up that way. And if I had to guess, it’s going to come out that there’s been something that he took to re-hydrate himself after his cut or somewhere in that style, that time that was some kind of – what do I want to say – some kind of substance that he thought was just a supplement, that someone said, ‘Hey, this will make you feel better. It’s got electrolytes in it and stuff.’

“But it was tainted. And everybody thinks, ‘Yeah, that’s just an excuse.’ But, no, really, that’s it. That’s what it’s going to be.”

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Jones on failed UFC 214 drug test: 'I would never do steroids'

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Jon Jones has finally spoken out – in the form of a tweet.

Jones, who failed a drug test after weigh-ins for his UFC 214 knockout of Daniel Cormier, responded to one of his follower’s asking him to “just tell the truth.” Jones’ response was a staunch denial.

“Dude the truth is I would never do steroids, I put that on my children and I put that on my Heavenly Father”

Jones’ response all but confirms what we already knew: that he’s headed for arbitration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in an attempt to clear his name after metabolites for the steroid turinabol were detected in his urine during a post-weigh-ins test administered July 28.

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential doping violation Aug. 22; his B sample also tested positive. As a result, the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., overturned Jones’ win to a no-contest. The UFC, in turn, responded by stripping Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion, a decision Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) believes was “the right thing to do.”

Jones last year failed a test at UFC 200, which canceled his title-unifying main event with Cormier. Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. He used that defense during arbitration with USADA, which stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension for negligence.

If found guilty this time, Jones faces up to a four-year ban.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Daniel Cormier: Jon Jones' failed test for steroids 'a death sentence'

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Daniel Cormier has been down this road before with Jon Jones.

Still, the fact that Cormier is dealing with Jones failing another drug test in connection with one of their fights?

“I think it’s crazy,” Jones said Wednesday on FS1’s “UFC Tonight.” “It’s one of the craziest things.”

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency violation Aug. 22 after it was revealed he failed an in-competition at the weigh-ins for his UFC 214 title win over Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC). On Tuesday, USADA announced that Jones’ B sample also came back positive for metabolites of the steroid turinabol.

With that information, the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., overturned the result to a no-contest on Wednesday. And the UFC, in turn, responded by stripping Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion, a decision Cormier believes was “the right thing to do.”

So, what’s next for Jones? The now-former champion is entitled to due process just like anyone else. But considering this is Jones’ third failed drug test in connection with one of their fights (including his cocaine infraction), Cormier wonders why the phrase “due process” is even being thrown around.

“USADA is being very straight line, saying ‘due process.’ But the reality is you can’t fail a drug test,” Cormier said. “You can pass a hundred tests; you cannot fail one. And they’re saying we have to wait for the due process, but what are we waiting for? … You cannot test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It’s unfair. I’m very upset about it.”

That certainly is an understandable sentiment coming Cormier. Also understandable is the likelihood that Jones is headed for arbitration with USADA in an attempt to clear his name.

For his failed test last year at UFC 200, Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. The defense sort of held up as USADA stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension.

If found guilty this time, Jones faces up to a four-year ban. At age 30, that figures to potentially end his career, which is why Cormier knows Jones will defend himself to the end.

“He has to fight this. This is a death sentence,” Cormier said. “If this does what it says it can be, it’s a death sentence.”

But, again, Cormier can’t see how Jones explains his way out of this one and doesn’t believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

“This is a very expensive drug, something that could not be easily found in a supplement,” Cormier said. “I’ve been in the USADA program for 12 years. I’ve never had these issues. If it was a mistake the first time, you’ve got to be more careful. Especially with all the scrutiny that was on him coming back from a suspension, you’ve got to be cautious and careful. To expect people to understand anymore is just ridiculous.”

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Michael Bisping: Jon Jones deserves lifetime ban from MMA after 2nd failed drug test

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For UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, what to do with Jon Jones after the light heavyweight champ’s second failed drug test is simple: Ban him for life.

“I think it’s fair to say that he has definitely tarnished his legacy,” Bisping said in an interview with SI Now. “I think he will always be remembered for the stunning performances that he put on. When he first broke into the UFC, he was incredible – absolutely unstoppable. Yes, outside of the octagon he’s made some very, very bad decisions. And unfortunately this is one that isn’t going to go away for a long time.”

The steroid turinabol was found in Jones’ urine during a pre-UFC 214 drug test administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after the July 28 weigh-ins for his title fight with Daniel Cormier, who Jones defeated by third-round knockout. In an interesting twist, Jones passed out-of-competition tests on July 6 and July 7 and also passed a blood test conducted on fight night, though USADA cautioned it was too early to draw conclusions because turinabol is only detected in urine tests.

If proven guilty of knowingly taken steroids, Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) faces a potential four-year suspension after already having served a one-year term for a failed drug test, which Jones later explained was the result of a tainted sexual enhancement pill.

Jones has yet to offer any explanation for this latest failed test since the news broke Aug. 22. Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) has thoughts.

“It’s fair to say there’s no smoke without fire,” Bisping said. “This isn’t his first time. So, I guess we’re going see how this thing unfolds, but it’s not looking good.”

When asked if Jones deserves to be banned for life from ever competing again in MMA, Bisping did not mince words.

“I believe so,” Bisping said. “If you have a history of taking performance-enhancing drugs, there’s no place for it. This is a vicious sport. It’s not for everybody. We’re not trying to put a ball into a basket. We’re trying to — you can dress it up however you want — we’re trying to beat our opponents, either into submission or knock them out. Performance-enhancing drugs have no place in this sport.”

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Ray Borg says he'll easily make weight for UFC 215 title fight; Demetrious Johnson believes him

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The biggest knock against UFC flyweight title contender Ray Borg the last two years is that he hasn’t always made weight, but he’s confident that won’t happen this week.

“I just turned 24,” Borg said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I never came from a superstar camp. A few of my weight-cuts were more of improper weight-cutting and honestly just lack of knowledge.”

That, Borg said, won’t be an issue for his UFC 215 pay-per-view headlining title fight against champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC), which takes place this Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

In the last two years, Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has four fights to his credit. For two of those fights he’s missed the 126-pound weight limit – and one time wasn’t even close.

In Aug. 2015 at UFC Fight Night 73, Borg came in at 126.7 pounds – just over the limit – for his unanimous-decision win over Geanne Herrera. Borg made weight for his next fight six months later, but again the issue arose last December for his UFC 207 bout with Louis Smolka. For that fight – a unanimous-decision win – Borg was embarrassingly overweight at 129.5, which garnered a lot of criticism.

Borg’s had enough trouble making it to 126. Now, heading into his first title shot against Johnson, the 1-pound allowance is gone. It’s 125 or bust for Borg, who says he’s overhauled his nutrition and will be ready for this fight.

“I’ve corrected my mistakes,” Borg said. “I’ve done what I’ve had to do to be up to that 125-pound limit, so I have no doubt in my mind that I’m going to make weight easily.”

There’s a lot at stake not just for Borg. If “The Tazmexican Devil” fails to live up to his word, it would mean he loses out on his title shot, which means Johnson wouldn’t be going for a UFC-record 11th consecutive title defense to surpass Anderson Silva.

For what it’s worth, Johnson has no concerns.

“Honestly, I’m not even worried about that,” Johnson said. “I’m sure he’ll do his job and make the weight class. … My job is to go out there and fight. I’m not even worried about that. I’m sure he’s going to make it.”

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Demetrious Johnson is fine being a target for others, but he has UFC history to make first

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As UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has compiled win after win and practically wiped out the 125-pound weight class in his quest to make history, he’s become something of a target for top fighters from another division.

First there was bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who in March said Johnson should have to fight him to “earn” the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses. Johnson wasn’t surprised by Garbrandt’s talk nor was he completely opposed to the idea of a champion vs. champion superfight.

Then, most recently, there was bantamweight title contender T.J. Dillashaw. After a Garbrandt title fight fell through for UFC 213 in July, former 135-pound champion Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) pushed for a shot at Johnson’s flyweight belt, an idea UFC President Dana White supported. Johnson, however, wasn’t OK with it, citing Dillashaw’s lack of 125-pound experience and noting that, without a belt in his possession, the matchup couldn’t be considered a true superfight.

As Johnson looks back on those callouts from Dillashaw and Garbrandt, he seems amused by them.

“Everybody keeps throwing my name out of their mouth,” Johnson said during a recent conference call. “And for me, I’m just focused on doing what I do best and cleaning out my division. But everybody in the UFC, everybody in the world, they say, ‘He’s the most boring fighter. He doesn’t sell any pay-per-views.’ But everyone keeps wanting to fight me. I don’t understand why they keep saying that.

“That makes me happy that everybody keeps bring up my name. If that was to happen, we’ll all sit down like men and negotiate, whether that would be at 125 or 135, whose title is defended. … It’s all about negotiating.”

In the meantime, though, Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) has business to take care of this week when he takes on Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in the pay-per-view headliner for UFC 215, which takes place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A victory would give Johnson is 11th consecutive title defense to surpass Anderson Silva and claim the UFC record as his own.

Johnson can see himself moving up to 135 at some point in his future. But for now he’s focused on attaining “legendary” status by first breaking and then extending the record to a point it could become untouchable.

“A friend of mine said, ‘You know, 10, that’s attainable. Eleven, that’s attainable.’ He goes, ’15 is (expletive) legendary. Why don’t you just go for 15?’ You know what? Why not?” Johnson sad. “I mean, I’m 31 years old. I feel good. You’ve got a lot of new, young, up-and-coming guys coming into the division. So why not keep on doing it as long as I can? It’s not like 135 is going anywhere.

“When I get to 35, 36, 37 years old, when I’m tired of dieting … then I’ll go to 135. Right now I’m focused on setting the record as high as I can. And then if the money is right, we can go up to 135 and let’s make it happen.”

And for more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Amanda Nunes knows UFC is punishing her with co-main demotion, isn't worried about it

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It wasn’t long ago that Amanda Nunes was on top of the world. Yet, at this point, it kind of feels like a distant memory.

In her last fight eight months ago at UFC 207, Nunes claimed the biggest win of her career when she defended her women’s bantamweight title with a 48-second demolishing of ex-champion Ronda Rousey. Prior to that victory, of course, was Nunes’ dominant performance against Miesha Tate to claim the title with a first-round submission.

Those back-to-back wins, over perhaps the two biggest names in women’s MMA history, announced Nunes’ arrival as the next big female star in the UFC.

Now, fast forward to the present, with Nunes preparing for her second title defense against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 215, which takes place Sept. 9 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Has the shine worn off?

“Honestly, I don’t really worry about what people think,” Nunes said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. “I’m a fighter. I’ve trained my whole life for this. I’m a fighter, and I will keep training. Whatever happens, I will keep doing the same thing that I do right now – training, fight. Whatever people’s opinions are about me (doesn’t matter).”

Nunes came under fire in July because of her last-minute withdrawal from the UFC 213 main event. After the Friday weigh-ins for the fight with Shevchenko, Nunes was hospitalized and decided to withdraw from the event only hours before she set to compete. Nunes would reveal in the aftermath that sinusitis was to blame, but by that point the damage had been done after UFC President Dana White revealed Nunes opted out despite clearance from doctors, angering many fans.

White was outspokenly upset about Nunes’ decision, which, in Nunes’ mind. explains why the fight – previously scheduled as the main event for the promotion’s big International Fight Week – has been demoted to co-main event.

“I feel they’re punishing me for sure,” Nunes said.

Even so, Nunes continues to defend her decision not to fight while less than 100 percent. And she has no intention of putting pressure on herself to perform any differently in her rematch with Shevchenko just to prove a point.

“Whatever Dana White says he’s going to do, you know,” Nunes said. “It could’ve been the main event or the first of the card, I would still fight the same. I’m going to step in the cage, defend my belt – co-main event, I don’t have any problem with that. I’m going to keep my belt, walk away, go home, drink some beer, and enjoy time with my girlfriend, my friends and my family.”

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie