Nicco Montano’s UFC career has been filled with a lot of ups and downs, but a new documentary will detail her rise to become the first-ever women’s flyweight champion – and the devastating weight cut that ended her reign before her first title defense.
The documentary, “Warrior Spirit,” debuts at the Las Vegas Premiere Film Festival on Aug. 6th at 6 p.m. local time at Galaxy Theatres in Las Vegas. A new clip has been released to preview the documentary.
Part of the video was originally shown during an episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO, which featured a segment on extreme weight-cutting in MMA.
Montano, who on Saturday faces off with Wu Yanan at UFC Vegas 33, was attempting to make the cut down to 125 pounds for a scheduled fight in Setember 2018 against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228. But the pain from the experience was too much to endure, and she was forced to take an emergency trip to the hospital.
She was then stripped of her flyweight title.
“Warrior Spirit is a feature length documentary about the first Native American UFC champion Nicco Montano, and the dangers of extreme weight-cutting in the UFC,” director Landon Dyksterhouse said in a statement sent to MMA Fighting. “Montano’s story is an important one to share because it sheds some light on the dangerous weight-cutting practices implemented by the UFC Performance Institute and how the UFC makes millions of dollars exploiting their fighters. The film also addresses many other important issues like fighter pay, insurance and unionization efforts.
“Furthermore, there is an eerie parallel to the way the UFC’s exploitive practices with fighters are similar to how the government exploited Native Americans in this country. Montano’s background as a Navajo and growing up on the Lukachukai reservation in Arizona gives her the perfect platform to bring up important issues regarding these exploitative practices in the film and be the voice for real positive change.”
Since the documentary was filmed, Montano has only competed once in the UFC when she returned at 135 pounds and lost a decision to Julianna Pena in 2019.
Unfortunately, Montano has been plagued with setbacks outside the cage: injuries suffered in training; a car accident; a positive COVID-19 test from one of her coaches that cancelled one fight; and travel restrictions that prevented her from making it to another bout.
She fights Yanan on the preliminary card of Saturday’s event at UFC APEX. Warrior Spirit was produced by Jason Bowles, Nancy Murphy-Bowles and Dyksterhouse as well as Warrior CBD and D-House Productions.