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Dana White: Amanda Nunes’ withdrawal at UFC 213 was ‘90 percent mental’

Dana White
Dana White
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- According to UFC president Dana White, the reasons for Amanda Nunes’ absence from UFC 213 were almost all in her head.

Nunes, the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, pulled out of her scheduled main event title defense against Valentina Shevchenko hours before the fight, citing an illness.

And while Nunes wasn’t at the post-fight press conference outside T-Mobile Arena to give her side of the story, White says Nunes was cleared by the doctors to fight on Saturday.

“Leading up to [Friday’s] ceremonial weigh-ins, I got a call that she wasn’t feeling well, and it was questionable whether she was going to show up to the ceremonials,” White said. “Because the doctor needed to see her and they needed to find out what was going on with her, so, she does them, everything’s good.”

“This morning, I wake up and I hear that she’s not feeling well again,” White continued. “And ... she’s not feeling well again and she’s probably not going to fight. So, I asked the doctors what’s wrong with her. She was medically cleared. She was physically OK, they found nothing wrong with her, but she didn’t feel right.”

White believes that Nunes, who defeated Shevchenko in their first meeting at UFC 196, pulled out more for mental than physical reasons.

“It’s not like she was like ‘I’m absolutely refusing to fight,’” White said. “She said ‘I don’t feel right, I don’t feel good.’ I think that it was 90 percent mental and maybe 10 percent physical, I think a lot of fighters have had times where they don’t feel right.

“These situations arise all the time,” White later added. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a situation like today, though, where she was physically capable of fighting.”

White also indicated that he’s not inclined to headline a card with Nunes again.

“I won’t do that again,” he said. “I won’t headline with that title again.”

White confirmed rumors that both fighters have been offered a rescheduled date at UFC 215 in Edmonton. He also said Nunes will not be paid for UFC 213, while Shevchenko received $70,000 of a reported $100,000 purse.

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