UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes will return to the Octagon on Sept. 9 to defend her belt against Valentina Shevchenko in Edmonton, Canada, but is still being questioned for pulling out of the UFC 213 main event in July.
UFC president Dana White said on the day of the fight that Nunes had been medically cleared to compete, but still decided not to step inside the Octagon citing a severe sinusitis crisis, and Shevchenko doesn’t believe her.
According to Nunes, the pressure in her head due to the dry weather in Las Vegas started to bother her two days before she started cutting weight, but she kept going. Since she’s not allowed to use her sinusitis medicine by USADA in competition, it became even tougher to recover in time.
"The day of the fight I felt very bad," Nunes said.
"She fought Ronda with the same condition she was going to fight Valentina,” Ansaroff said, "but fortunately (against Rousey) she was able to go through it. She didn't feel as much pressure, pain in the head as she did."
Nunes made weight Friday, but still wasn’t feeling well. The Brazilian champion went to the hospital with her team, and that’s the first time the doctors cleared her to go on and compete in the Octagon.
"We went to the doctor and they did all these blood exams, all these exams, and then they released her and said she was cleared,” Ansaroff said. "She still didn't look ok, she still didn't have an appetite. She didn't sleep that night, her heartbeat was over 100. Something wasn't right.
"The next morning we went back to the hospital and they did the CAT scan of her lungs, her abdomen, and they did the CAT scan of her sinuses, and the doctor was like ‘oh, there’s a little build up there,' but the UFC doctor cleared her. In my head, I’m just like, 'ok, well, cleared can mean many things.'”
"A lot of people get cleared that haven't been ok to fight,” she continued. "I have been cleared when I wasn't ok to fight. So it didn't mean much to me because I know Amanda and I know Amanda’s character. That didn’t mean anything. She doesn't feel good she doesn't feel good.”
With Nunes cleared twice by the doctors, UFC president Dana White publicly criticized the bantamweight champion after cancelling the main event, and “The Lioness” says she wasn’t bothered by it.
"You know, they do whatever they want,” Nunes said. "I wanna step in that cage 100 percent and I decided… I talked about (it with my team) and whatever they say and whatever they put in the media, I didn't even care."
Ansaroff also doesn’t make a big deal of White’s statements, but says four specialists later said that, based on Nunes' exams, they have made the right decision to call off the fight.
"Maybe Dana didn't get the news on what exactly was wrong and made a statement on what was said, 'she was cleared and she was ok to fight,'” Ansaroff said. "But after we got back we brought the CAT scans to four specialists and they are all like she's messed up, taking a punch to the head like that, she’s not gonna feel good. And it wasn't worth it. She shouldn't have fought. So 'cleared' can mean many things.
"Or course, in the media's eye, through the UFC, maybe having, you know, protect their back a little, for whatever reason it was for, they said what they said and we kind of had to roll with it too."
Nunes and Shevchenko are booked to meet a second time in the co-main event of UFC 215, and the Brazilian, who defeated “Bullet" via decision in March 2016, is happy to finally get over it.
"It was very tough for me (to cancel the fight) because I'm always ready and I wanted to shut this girl up and wanted to fight her so bad,” said Nunes, who will undergo sinusitis surgery after UFC 215. “But at the same time I have to make good choices. I have to be 100 percent and I did the right thing."