Nicco Montano has gone on an angry tirade against the UFC and her rival Valentina Shevchenko after being controversially stripped of her women’s flyweight title.
Montano became the inaugural 125-pound champion last year after winning “The Ultimate Fighter”, and was scheduled to make her first defence against Shevchenko at UFC 228 on Saturday.
The fight never happened though as Montano was hospitalised following a bad weight cut, an outcome that saw her stripped of the belt by UFC President Dana White, with Shevchenko set to fight a yet unnamed fighter for the now vacant title,
The decision did not go down well with Montana.
“If you ask me, it’s completely uncalled for,” she wrote on Instagram. “There have been plenty other fighters who have not been punished for a lot more. Unfortunately I’m not one to be running my mouth so I don’t bring in the big bucks.”
She also blasted Shevchenko, who accused Montana of trying to avoid fighting her and being “unprofessional” for “coming into fight week 20 pounds over.”
“She’s obsessed with me and has too much time on her hands,” Montano wrote. “Not only has she been (disrespectful) and jealous of my efforts and accomplishments, blocking me first on Instagram during her first fight at 125 pounds, but the fact that she takes pride in kicking a person while (they’re) going through surgery and having their kidneys shut down truly demonstrates what a martial artist should not be.”
Montana’s coach Tom Vaughn, said the weight cut was not the sole reason Monatano had not been ready.
“It was a nightmare,” Vaughn told MMAjunkie. “It goes back farther than (this past week). Nicco had a broken foot on the show. After she won (Season 26 of) ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and won the title, she had to have her foot put in a boot. She was inactive for quite a while.
“She got a little heavy. When she finally got the boot off and started training again, she was getting sick – severe colds, and found out it was her tonsils infected. So she had to have a tonsilectomy.
“She really had a series of things, and there was a lot of pressure to make this fight happen earlier than she wanted to. That played into part of this. The weight cut, the weight just didn’t come off as planned and here we are. It was a freaking nightmare.”
He added that Montano would now get ready for an October fight, with the possibility of his fighter being ready to step in if Shevchenko’s yet-to-be named opponent drops out.