Category Archives: Germaine de Randamie

Germaine de Randamie returns to bantamweight, meets Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 115

Former UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC), returns to 135 pounds in September to face Marion Reneau (7-3-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC).

UFC officials today announced the contest will take place at UFC Fight Night 115 in de Randamie’s home nation of the Netherlands.

Featuring a heavyweight matchup of Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov in the main event, UFC Fight Night 155 takes place Sept. 2 at Ahoy Rotterdam. The entire card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

Former champ de Randamie fights for the first time since being stripped of her featherweight belt after refusing to defend it against top contender Cristian Justino, who the Dutch fighter branded “a known and proven cheater.” The UFC’s decision brought to a close a strange chapter in the promotion’s history that saw de Randamie crowned champ after a hotly contested decision win over Holly Holm at February’s UFC 208.

Meanwhile, Reneau returns to action for the first time since a March majority draw with Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil. Reneau has endured mixed results since making her way to the UFC, opening her octagon run with victories over Alexis Dufresne and Jessica Andrade before falling short against Holly Holm and Ashlee Evans-Smith. This past November, she picked up a TKO win over Milana Dudieva before the draw with Correia.

UFC Fight Night 115 now includes:

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Germaine de Randamie vs. Marion Reneau
  • Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov
  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Saparbek Safarov
  • Abu Azaitar vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
  • Francimar Barroso vs. Aleksandar Rakic
  • Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Leon Edwards

For more on UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: Should Amanda Nunes have fought sick at 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 main event bout against Valentina Shevchenko on Saturday in Las Vegas. Now retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to debate what Nunes should have done, and whether the powers that be are treating her unfairly.

Downes: There wasn’t a Papa Roach concert (that I know of), but “International Fight Week” provided some great action this weekend, Ben. On Friday night, Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson had the potential “Fight of the Year.” Not to be outdone, your boy Robert Whittaker withstood some early trouble and a bum leg to become the interim middleweight champion.

What we didn’t see, however, was Amanda Nunes defending her UFC women’s bantamweight title against Valentina Shevchenko. We still don’t have all the details, but it sounds like Nunes became ill and pulled out of the fight. Dana White says that Nunes was medically cleared and her decision not to fight was “90 percent mental.”

Since you threw Germaine de Randamie under the bus a few weeks ago, it’s safe to assume that you, too, will call Nunes a coward?

Fowlkes: You know what I like about you? Your willingness to strip all context away while making these comparisons. Wait, did I just type “like”? Sorry, I meant the opposite of that.

Here’s what happened with Germaine de Randamie, Danny, since you seem to have forgotten. First she won the UFC women’s featherweight title. Then, the moment she was asked about defending that title, likely against Cristiane Justino, she remembered she needed hand surgery. Maybe. Then some weeks later she remembered that Justino has a history of failed drug tests, and so that’s why she wouldn’t fight her.

Nunes? She already fought Shevchenko once – and won. She signed to fight her again, then ended up in the hospital twice in the hours leading up to the fight, before eventually withdrawing.

White has gone out of his way to frame this as a mental and not a physical issue for Nunes. That’s not uncommon for the UFC president. He loves to trash his own fighters when they cost him money or even just go against his wishes, and it doesn’t seem to matter how good or tough or awesome they are at their jobs.

Remember when he did a media conference call to hammer Jon Jones after the UFC 151 cancellation? Remember when he went on an “official” UFC podcast to talk smack on Demetrious Johnson?

Now it’s Nunes’ turn. She was “cleared” to fight by doctors, White said, but simply wouldn’t do it. I guess that’s because she likes throwing her money away on training camps only to miss out on the payday of the fight itself. Either that, or she was so terrified of the prospect of a fight against someone she already beat that she simply couldn’t go through with it.

Or – bear with me, because I know this theory is a little crazy – maybe she felt like she was too freaking sick to fight, Danny. Maybe she knew that if she fought sick and lost, her willingness to do the UFC a solid wouldn’t do much to help her chances of getting a rematch. Maybe she felt like she had to look out for herself, since who else is going to do it if she doesn’t?

Are you really going to tell me that you can’t imagine how a fighter might reach that conclusion? Or are you just that comfortable taking White’s word as solemn gospel, despite his troubled history with the truth?

Downes: MMAjunkie is truly lucky to have someone like you on staff. Your ability to easily discern which fighters are running scared and which ones are a victim of circumstance is astounding. Coupled with your apparent medical knowledge, I’m simply in awe. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though. I mean, you did play Division III football, after all.

I know nuance is a dirty word to you, so I’m going to try to break it down as simply as I can. You are correct to be suspicious of White’s interpretation of events. He had a lot to lose and nothing to gain by canceling his main event. And when you mess with his fight cards, he goes scorched Earth. That is, unless you get picked up for a felony assault warrant. Then he’ll go to bat for you all day long.

But your mistake here is letting the personality of the fighter cloud your judgment. You like Nunes. Therefore, she’s a victim of a smear campaign. If it had been Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping or anyone else on your hit list, I doubt you would be so forgiving.

Nunes said that “chronic sinusitis” was the reason for her pulling out of the fight. Now before you claim victory, she’s also said that she’s fought through this before. I don’t know about White’s 90/10 split on the mental vs. physical aspect of Nunes’s decision, but even you would have to admit the mental aspect played a role.

Obviously you don’t have to be on your deathbed to be “too sick to fight,” but even a slight annoyance leading up to a fight can be magnified 1000 times over in your mind. I’m sure you had the same feelings on…uh…scrimmage week or something. Even if it’s a condition you’ve dealt with thousands of times before, the stakes become bigger once you’re the headliner.

I don’t think Nunes was scared. I don’t think she spent all that time/money on training camp to go to Las Vegas and walk away with $0. What I do think is the stress of being the champion can weigh on a person. Would she have pulled out of this fight if she were the challenger? Probably not. Like de Randamie or Bisping or even Conor McGregor, she has a title now and wants to do everything in her power to hold onto it.

All those aforementioned champions have gone through widely disparate machinations to hold on to their respective titles, but the larger point still stands. Once they have their precious, they’ll do whatever necessary to keep it theirs. Even it means being a bit more cautious than usual.

Fowlkes: You want to talk nuance? Want to talk about medical clearances? Then let me pull your chain about a cat name of Donald Cerrone.

That’s right, I’m talking about our beloved “Cowboy.” Now there’s a man who’ll fight through anything. Pulled groin? Infection in his blood? Doesn’t matter. If the doctor and the promoter will let him, he’s putting that mouthpiece in and making that walk. What a savage.

Know something else about Cerrone? He’s never been a UFC champ. It could be because he fights all the time, under whatever circumstances, and so inevitably he’s going to lose one here and there. And what happened when he complained about the state of fighter pay, Danny? That’s when Mr. White explained that you “have to win them all” if you want to make that serious money.

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

This isn’t someone turning down the top contender in the division. It isn’t someone picking and choosing for an easier or more profitable fight. This is a champion who said yes, who showed up, and who got sick.

If our response is to yell at her for not being willing to take the beating anyway for the sake of our entertainment, then we need to reevaluate some things, up to and including how we treat losing fighters who tell us what was ailing them. And until we’re ready to do that, we shouldn’t be surprised when a fighter decides to act in her own best interests. Maybe instead we should be surprised that it doesn’t happen more often.

For complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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

How will we remember Germaine de Randamie's UFC title reign? As the weirdest, and maybe the worst

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In the storied history of weird title reigns, Germaine de Randamie’s brief time as UFC women’s featherweight champ may go down as one of the weirdest.

So that’s nice, a little piece of MMA history for her to stick in her back pocket. It’ll go well with the other piece of history she owns: being the first owner of the newest UFC title, even if, in retrospect, she seems more like a squatter who was swiftly evicted.

Officially, de Randamie’s time as champion lasted just a little over four months. She defended the belt not at all, and refused even to consider a fight with the division’s obvious top contender, Cristiane Justino, arguing via her management that a “known and proven cheater” like “Cyborg” shouldn’t even be in the UFC, much less fighting for a belt.

Perhaps sensing how unpopular this decision would be with the company brass, de Randamie’s manager also said she was “willing to wait and see if the UFC will strip her belt before making her next move.”

Turns out that sounded like a great idea to UFC executives, who announced on Monday that de Randamie (7-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) had been stripped and the newly vacant title would go up for grabs at UFC 214, where Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) meets Invicta FC champ Megan Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in the July 29 pay-per-view co-headliner.

As for de Randamie? In all likelihood she’ll return to the women’s bantamweight division. Chances are she’ll never get another crack at any belt with the initials “UFC” on it unless she personally retires every other fighter in the weight class, but that’s the bed she’s made for herself. What else did she expect, honestly?

This is a shockingly bad career decision on de Randamie’s part. In one non-move, she’s managed to alienate both fans and the UFC, while giving up her title literally without a fight. If the goal for a fighter is to win fights, build a legacy, and make money (not necessarily in that order), there’s no worse way to handle your business.

Part of the problem is the messaging. Immediately after de Randamie won the women’s 145-pound title with a little help from some questionable tactics and friendly judging, she was asked about a potential fight with Justino. That’s when she remembered her injured hand, which may or may not need surgery. It was only later that she seemed to get deeply concerned about Justino’s history of failed drug tests.

That creates a pretty clear narrative, and it’s one that most fighters seek to avoid. It’s never a good look when fans think you’re avoiding a certain opponent. It’s an even worse one when you’re the champion, and the certain opponent is the only person in the division who most fans care about.

That’s the other way de Randamie managed to screw this up. You’re looking for a big money bout as a female fighter, one that will help you capitalize on your status as the defending champ? As long as both Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano are off pursuing other interests, “Cyborg” is the best hope you’ve got.

But de Randamie didn’t want that hope or that money, apparently. She must have not wanted the title, either, since she clearly knew that refusing to defend it against the most logical and lucrative contender would have swift consequences.

That created the rare environment where the UFC could strip a champion without upsetting anyone outside that champ’s inner circle. Of course, the promotion still managed an unforced error in its statement explaining the decision, all thanks to one last sentence that could have easily been left out:

“UFC maintains that any champion is expected to accept fights against the top contenders in their respective weight classes in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.”

Ah yes. The integrity of the sport. We can’t have that undermined by champions who don’t face top contenders. Not unless, as in the cases of Michael Bisping and Conor McGregor – both of whom have held their titles longer than de Randamie without facing any top contenders – there’s more money in it for the UFC that way.

What the UFC really means here is that this is a decision it alone gets to make. It can decide when to let champions fight non-contenders, or even non-MMA fighters. It can also decide when to pressure champions to ignore contenders in favor of opponents from outside their divisions, as it did recently with Demetrious Johnson.

Fighters don’t get to make that call, apparently, which in some other instance might open the UFC up to criticism for its own inconsistency. Fortunately for the promotion, here’s an instance where de Randamie messed up so badly and obviously that it overshadows anyone else’s mistakes.

So there’s another thing to add to her legacy. I don’t envy anyone who has to carry that around for the rest of her career.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Germaine de Randamie issues statement after UFC strips her of title

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After being stripped of the UFC women’s featherweight title, Germaine de Randamie vows to move on with her octagon career.

“That I’m stripped does not mean I’m stopping,” she wrote today in a prepared statement shortly after the promotion announced it’s moving on.

She added, “The UFC is not long for me! It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes Courage to stand alone.”

The message raised questions about de Randamie’s desire to compete in the UFC, but her manager, Brian Butler, today told MMAjunkie the now-former champ will “100 percent” continue to fight for the industry-leader and is awaiting a fight at bantamweight, where she’s competed in MMA after a career in muay Thai at featherweight.

Meanwhile, the UFC is putting the women’s featherweight title up for grabs again when Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) faces Megan Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 214, which takes place July 29 at Anaheim, Calif., and airs live on pay-per-view.

Randamie (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC), nicknamed “The Iron Lady,” was defiant toward fans and MMA observers who might question her decision to turn down a fight with No. 1 contender “Cyborg” at UFC 214 in what would have been her first title defense.

As she wrote: “Well, I hear you thinking again ‘She’s scared! What a bad champion! A shame for the sport! She did not deserve to be a champion!’ Etc .. etc .. I’ve seen it all over. But apart from what everyone thinks / finds, I’m walking my own path. And there you can agree or not.”

This past month, De Randamie put the recently formed women’s 145-pound weight class on hold when she said she wouldn’t fight Justino, branding the Brazilian star “a known and proven cheater” who “is trying to beat the system rather than just conforming to the rules.”

Justino, who’s previously failed two drug tests and was recently cleared by UFC anti-doping partner USADA, fired back on Twitter, writing, “Some people are so afraid to lose that they will find every excuse not to try” (via Twitter):

The refusal was the latest twist in the 33-year-old Dutch fighter’s short and rocky title reign. She claimed the inaugural belt with a unanimous-decision win over over ex-bantamweight champion Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at UFC 208 – a bout made when Justino turned down the fight, citing health concerns from a brutal weight cut for her previous fight – and then said she may need surgery to repair a hand injury. She welcomed an immediate rematch with Holm in light of criticism she took for landing multiple late punches. But she subsequently said her doctor would determine her next step.

De Randamie was scarcely heard from during the next three months as Justino pushed for a title fight at UFC 214. Butler initially told MMAjunkie she was dealing with personal and work issues after rumors surfaced she would retire. But she then did an abrupt about-face and declared she would not fight Justino, inviting the promotion to strip her of the belt.

De Randamie’s title reign lasted just four months. But as her statement indicates, she is steadfast in her desire to continue fighting.

De Randamie’s full statement:

“As many of you will know, the UFC has stripped me from the belt. For those of us who do not know what that means; The UFC has unpacked my title because I refuse to fight against their number one challenger. (I have my reasons for that) It’s great to hear this news from the media and I’m sorry that it’s running, but it’s what it’s!

“Well, I hear you thinking again ‘She’s scared! What a bad champion! A shame for the sport! She did not deserve to be a champion! ” Etc .. etc .. I’ve seen it all over. But apart from what everyone thinks / finds, I’m walking my own path. And there you can agree or not.

“That I’m stripped does not mean I’m stopping. This only means that I have even more reasons to knock NOG (literally sometimes 😬) for which I stand and what I want.

“The UFC is not long for me !! It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes Courage to stand alone🙏🏻 ‘Die with memories not dreams!’”

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts: Germaine de Randamie stripped, and 'Cyborg' vs. Megan Anderson at UFC 214

The number of fighters to hold UFC belts was trimmed from 11 to 10 today when the UFC announced it had officially stripped Germaine de Randamie of the women’s featherweight crown.

De Randamie’s (7-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) apparent refusal to defend the belt against Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) led to decision, and as a result “Cyborg,” meets Megan Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) for the vacant title at UFC 214, which takes place July 29 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

To see how the UFC’s decision resonated in the MMA world, as well as the news of a new title fight being booked for UFC 214, check below for the top Twitter reactions to today’s news.

* * * *

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC: Yes, Germaine de Randamie stripped of belt due to 'unwillingness' to fight 'Cyborg'

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UFC officials say the reason Germaine de Randamie was stripped of her belt is simple: She refused to fight the No. 1 contender.

Officials today announced de Randamie (7-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has been stripped of the UFC women’s featherweight title, and Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Invicta FC vet Megan Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) are now slated to fight for the vacant belt at UFC 214.

In a statement, officials explained the rationale for the move (via UFC.com):

“UFC has informed Germaine de Randamie and her management team that she is being removed as the women’s featherweight champion due to her unwillingness to fight the No. 1 ranked contender, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino. Subsequently, top contender Justino will face newly signed Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson for the UFC women’s featherweight title in the co-main event of UFC 214; Cormier vs. Jones 2, July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.

“UFC maintains that any champion is expected to accept fights against the top contenders in their respective weight classes in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.”

For what it’s worth, the UFC doesn’t technically have official rankings for the fledgling women’s 145-pound division, so there’s no definitive pecking order or list of contenders. Additionally, UFC officials have often booked title fights – including the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch, as well as middleweight champion Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson – that were based more on potential PPV buys than divisional rankings.

Initially, it wasn’t clear why de Randamie was so quiet after her most recent bout, a February win over Holly Holm for the inaugural title at UFC 208. We initially got mixed messages from her side, which ranged from a lingering hand injury to personal issues.

However, “The Iron Lady’s” management team recently stated she wouldn’t fight Justino under any circumstance – even if it meant being stripped of the belt – because “‘Cyborg’ is a known and proven cheater. Even after so much scrutiny has been put on ‘Cyborg,’ she still managed to pop for something and will always be a person of suspicion who is trying to beat the system rather than just conforming to the rules.”

Justino, a former Strikeforce and Invicta FC champion, most notably failed a drug test due to a banned substance following a December 2011 Strikeforce bout and was suspended for one year. Justino also failed an out-of-competition drug test administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) earlier this year, but she was not punished because she provided documented information that proved the test results were caused by a legitimate medical treatment, so she was granted a therapeutic-use exemption.

De Randamie recently stated she’s focused on moving back to the bantamweight division, where she went 3-1 in the UFC before the title win over Holm.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

'Cyborg' vs. Megan Anderson for title at UFC 214 after Germaine de Randamie stripped

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After UFC President Dana White recently confirmed Cristiane Justino will fight at UFC 214, “Cyborg” finally has an opponent for the card: Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson.

UFC officials today announced Germaine de Randamie(7-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has been stripped of the UFC women’s featherweight belt. Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will face off for the vacant title at the July 29 event at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The title fight will be part of the the pay-per-view main card, which follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the complete bout order has yet to be finalized.

It’s been a long and complicated road for 31-year-old Justino to compete in a UFC title fight. The longtime featherweight queen under the Invicta FC and Strikeforce banners was initially forced down to 140 pounds upon joining the UFC roster, where she earned dominant TKO wins over Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg.

The UFC finally decided it would open a women’s 145-pound weight class earlier this year, but the Brazilian said she was unable to compete within the desired time frame for the inaugural title bout, which resulted in UFC officials booking de Randamie vs. Holly Holm at UFC 208 in February.

Shortly thereafter it was announced Justino had been issued a potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation, but after being granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption, she was cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated for competition.

The push for a title showdown with de Randamie began, but the Dutch champion stayed off the radar in the months following UFC 208. “The Iron Lady” recently broke her silence and stated she will not fight Justino under any circumstance, even if it meant being stripped of the belt. Additionally, de Randamie said her focus was on moving back to the bantamweight division.

That opened the door for Anderson, 29, to begin campaigning for a fight with Justino. The career-long featherweight is one of few to show enthusiasm toward challenging the dominant Justino, but it seemed her opportunity was lost after it was announced Anderson would defend her Invicta FC title against Helena Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24 in July.

That fight will no longer take place, with Anderson making the jump to the UFC and immediately competing in a title fight.

With the addition, the UFC 214 card now includes:

  • Champ Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones – for light heavyweight title
  • Megan Anderson vs. Cristiane Justino – for vacant women’s featherweight title
  • Andre Fili vs. TBA
  • Renan Barao vs. Aljamain Sterling
  • Alexandra Albu vs. Kailin Curran
  • Josh Burkman vs. Drew Dober
  • Dmitrii Smoliakov vs. Adam Wieczorkowski
  • Jarred Brooks vs. Eric Shelton
  • Jimi Manuwa vs. Volkan Oezdemir
  • Sage Northcutt vs. Claudio Puelles
  • Jason Knight vs. Ricardo Lamas
  • Renato Moicano vs. Brian Ortega
  • Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira

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

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