UFC flyweight JP Buys has decided to clear the air.
Buys is currently married to UFC strawweight Cheyanne Vlismas, although the Contender Series alums are in the process of getting a divorce. Vlismas spoke with MMA Fighting this past week following her unanimous decision win over Mallory Martin at UFC Vegas 44 and revealed that she left the U.S. for an undisclosed location in order to “escape” from some things going on in her personal life.
While Vlismas never mentioned her husband’s name in any derogatory way, the announcement of the impending divorce led to some negative feedback from fans.
“It’s been a little bit frustrating from my side trying to, No. 1, keep quiet and focus on myself; No. 2, trying to heal through this whole process; No. 3, trying to figure out my life and my situation and things that are going on in my personal life,” Buys told MMA Fighting on Monday. “Every day, my phone gets blown up by people because of things she says publicly, or posts [on social media].
“The world has just been exploding every day, commenting on my stuff, sending me messages, ‘What did you do to your wife? Why is she running from you?’ It’s a little bit frustrating. ... That literally got attention drawn to me as if she’s running away from me — like physically or something.”
After coming up short in his first bid on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017, Buys returned to the show three years later and earned a contract with a first-round submission win over Jacob Silva. Since then, Buys has competed twice inside the octagon. He was finished by Bruno Silva this past March, then dropped a unanimous decision up at bantamweight to Montel Jackson on short notice at September’s UFC Vegas 37 event.
Vlismas told MMA Fighting that “until I finalize some things in my life,” she wouldn’t be able to fight again, although she was hopeful for a summer return. Buys admits that he took exception to those comments, especially considering he, himself, can’t compete.
“She says that she can’t fight or earn any money, or whatever the case, that’s her choice,” Buys explained. “That’s her choice that she can’t fight right now for her personal reasons, or whatever is going on right now. From my side, I literally cannot fight. I literally cannot earn a cent while I’m living in America right now because of my current status.
“With my status right now, I do not have a valid work permit to earn, or fight in the United States. I’m not able to travel out of the United States either. I got offered a fight for the London card but I can’t travel or fight in the United States. ... I’ll have to first get a new work permit that could take until the end of the year. I applied for a new work permit on May 7, 2021, through Cheyanne, and I still haven’t received that — which obviously, that is not valid anymore. That’s how far the government is backdated.
“She is the one that’s placing all of these tough difficulties [on herself], but her life is normally going on: She has money, she’s fighting, she can fight when she wants to when she’s ready. She can get a house in her name, she has a car, her life is normally going on. She’s in another country right now, having a vacation, training every day. I can’t get a house in my name. I can’t get a vehicle in my name. I can’t fight. I can’t earn money.
“My life is stranded. I’m not growing and going on. I’m not able to. It’s just a little frustrating.”
In the end, Buys says that he hopes that he and his soon-to-be ex-wife can some day be civil. But while he and Vlismas deal with the eventual end of a marriage, Buys has been able to find some positivity through the support of his team, coaches, and even the current Bellator women’s featherweight champion.
“I’ve been getting unbelievable support through the UFC, through my coaches, through my team,” Buys said. “People ask, ‘How are you able to stay in the same gym as Cheyanne?’ I’ve been getting just unbelievable support from everyone through the process. People have been so supportive and I’ve been so grateful for everyone that’s been involved in my life.
“You know, just me as a foreigner, and me moving here with Cheyanne from Texas to Vegas, I was brought here as the extra package. I was just the plus-one joining the team. I’m just extremely grateful for the team and everyone that supports me. They really have made Vegas a home for me by showing their support to me in my toughest times.
“I, especially, want to give a big thank you to Ray Sefo who has taken me in as, pretty much, his son. Any time, anything I need, I can phone him and he’ll be there. Also, my good friend Cris Cyborg, I’m really, really grateful to her too. Her and her family have been a true blessing to me and I’m extremely grateful for everything they do for me. Having the support from such major names in the community is indescribable.”